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Old 06-08-2015, 05:44 PM   #21
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I have seen retirement health care benefits revoked after a few years into retirement. What is now, may not be later. I'd hate to go 2 more years only to find a year later that policy and benefits change. It happened to my father in retirement from megacorp (80K employees). With companies merging, policies rationalized and reducing benefits every day......... either ay you choose, there is risk.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:07 PM   #22
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The only real benefit is subsidized retiree healthcare to our corporate Cadillac plan. It's not an awesome subsidy. But it is something, plus it's a good overall plan. In light of the uncertainty with ACA in general, I like the idea of having this option.

At this point I'm pretty much FI. I'm ready to quit.

Muir
If you are really FI, and really ready to quit, is the "not an awesome" healthcare subsidize really worth two more years of your life? Could you just absorb the cost and buy a similar policy on your own? Or maybe they will allow you to stay on the corp plan and pay the full amount (no subsidy)?

I stayed with my mega corp until 55 not only so I could get their subsidized healthcare but "mainly" for the numerous full retirement benefits. If it had just been for a healthcare subsidy, I would have gone years before when I felt I was FI.
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Old 06-08-2015, 06:10 PM   #23
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If this was me I would negotiate layoff and getting severance pay.

In exchange I would spend what ever time is needed in coaching my replacement and making this smooth transition for my boss. So it may be like 1 year project to say good bye to your company.

I had seen this done in megacorp of 50k people plus. Win win for everybody.

This is a technique to get most money....not to quit right now . You may be FI but getting most money when leaving your job may be prudent thing to do.
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Old 06-08-2015, 07:42 PM   #24
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If you are really FI, and really ready to quit, is the "not an awesome" healthcare subsidize really worth two more years of your life? Could you just absorb the cost and buy a similar policy on your own? Or maybe they will allow you to stay on the corp plan and pay the full amount (no subsidy)?

I stayed with my mega corp until 55 not only so I could get their subsidized healthcare but "mainly" for the numerous full retirement benefits. If it had just been for a healthcare subsidy, I would have gone years before when I felt I was FI.

Car-Guy,
That's a really interesting idea. First I could try the straight up tactic of getting an exception and healthcare coverage at age 53. If not, then I could offer paying the full amount of coverage for the next 2 years and then going on the retiree subsidy. Either way it's seeking an exception to the retirement policy requirement. But the second method might be more palatable to megacorp.

Thanks.

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Old 06-08-2015, 07:46 PM   #25
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If this was me I would negotiate layoff and getting severance pay.

In exchange I would spend what ever time is needed in coaching my replacement and making this smooth transition for my boss. So it may be like 1 year project to say good bye to your company.

I had seen this done in megacorp of 50k people plus. Win win for everybody.

This is a technique to get most money....not to quit right now . You may be FI but getting most money when leaving your job may be prudent thing to do.

I would be willing to do such a deal. Don't think one year would be required to train replacement though. Maybe 6 months. But the bigger problem is I've no idea how to negotiate such an arrangement. This seems like a much larger 'ask' than what I'm currently thinking about on the retiree qualification exception.


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Old 06-08-2015, 07:58 PM   #26
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The age 55 is not something your company chose out of the air. It's a minimum retirement age that the U.S. Government has in its regulations. I don't have any idea why The King doesn't want MegaCompany employees to retire at age 55 or more--despite their personal financial positions.

My company paid a supplement to those retiring at age 55 until age 62 when they could draw social security. And they essentially retired all employees 55 years old and older in 2008--overreacting to bad economic times.

My best friend was a UPS manager with an incredibly large retirement account in UPS stock. He also had to wait until 55 years old and one day to retire, even though he had enough UPS stock to last until age 125.

It's a government "thang."
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Old 06-08-2015, 07:59 PM   #27
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I've heard of my megacorp offering packages to encourage early retirement where they add X years to your service and tenure. So if you were X years short of 55, you would become pension eligible, and you would get two more years of service added to the payout formula.


But I think any corp doing this on a one-off basis is unlikely.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:13 PM   #28
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I would be willing to do such a deal. Don't think one year would be required to train replacement though. Maybe 6 months. But the bigger problem is I've no idea how to negotiate such an arrangement. This seems like a much larger 'ask' than what I'm currently thinking about on the retiree qualification exception.
Good thing you know there are things that you don't know. A chat with an atty. specializing in employment law , who has individuals as clients. Negotiating an individual severance is a very specialized skill, not a do it yourself task.
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Old 06-08-2015, 08:39 PM   #29
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The age 55 is not something your company chose out of the air. It's a minimum retirement age that the U.S. Government has in its regulations. I don't have any idea why The King doesn't want MegaCompany employees to retire at age 55 or more--despite their personal financial positions.

My company paid a supplement to those retiring at age 55 until age 62 when they could draw social security. And they essentially retired all employees 55 years old and older in 2008--overreacting to bad economic times.

My best friend was a UPS manager with an incredibly large retirement account in UPS stock. He also had to wait until 55 years old and one day to retire, even though he had enough UPS stock to last until age 125.

It's a government "thang."


I was wondering when someone was going to point that out....


The only thing that your company can do is let you stay on the payroll with no salary until you reach the magic age.... but then again, I would bet they would not want to do this since the next guy would want the same... and the next... and then they will be sued by the person they do not offer it too....


Edit to add.... my old mega used to have the same thing... as long as you had worked there a certain number of years and reached 50, you could sign up for the insurance when you reached 55... they closed it down to new people when I was 49... so I cannot sign up now that I am over 55... but if they had made the change one year later I would have that option...
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Old 06-08-2015, 11:41 PM   #30
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In most Megas that I have experience with it seems unlikely that an exception will be granted because they will not want to set a precedent where they might be forced to offer exceptions to others in similar circumstances.

Can you downshift to a lesser role with lower hours, pay and stress for a couple years?

I downshifted to 50% time and it was wonderful and I would have considered staying but I would have had to wait out 6 more years rather than 2 more years and I decided that 6 years was too much.
Add me to the list of the "no exceptions granted" view from pb4uski.

I wanted what I thought was a no-brainer exception in my waning days of work back in 2007-2008. In 2007 (I was 44 that year), I asked for and was granted a second reduction to my weekly hours worked (from 20 to 12). I needed only approval from my divisionhead and his VP boss. This made me ineligible to remain the company's group health plan, something I already knew. I was able to go on COBRA and pay 102% of the premiums but could stay on it for only 18 months, something I also knew.

The big question for me was what would happen after COBRA expired in late 2008. One thing I didn't want to have happen was to keep working and have to buy my own HI which would be more expensive than COBRA (no ACA yet, of course).

I offered to pay for 100% of the HI group health premiums, either through COBRA or being allowed to remain in the group health plan. I figured this would be a no-brainer because I was voluntarily reducing the company subsidy to zero. In return, the company would get to retain a valuable employee with 23 years of experience.

Instead, my request was denied. They told me that they could not offer me HI because I moved into a riskier class of people when I reduced my hours from 20 to 12. I was now part of a small, riskier group of employees who tended to be near or over age 65, the latter eligible for Medicare. Even paying 100% of the premiums would not be enough, they told me. They told me it would not be fiscally responsible.

I replied that the company offers subsidized group HI coverage for many people who contribute zero the company's bottom line such as spouses and children of covered employees as well as retirees also in the plan (something that was getting phased out). I added that if I were to quit working for the company and married a current employee I would be eligible for group health coverage even though I would no longer be contributing to its bottom line any more. If the company can find the money to pay for all of those people who contribute nothing to its bottom line, why can't they even OFFER me group health coverage for someone who DOES contribute to its bottom line.

My request went nowhere but I soon did. I resigned at the end of October, 2008, beginning my ER, and made sure to mention all of this to the HR flunkie in my exit interview, not that I expected anything to happen.

The company's no-exception policy sure seemed pretty stupid.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:30 AM   #31
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Scrabbler....

The company does not have that option... there is a plan in place that states who is able to buy and who is not... they do not get to pick and choose... they have to treat all employees the same or risk problems with the gvmt...

It has nothing to do with you adding to the bottom line...


Now.... they COULD have said you were a full time salaried employee that only came in 12 hours a week... but then they would have to subsidize your policy...
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:12 AM   #32
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Scrabbler....

The company does not have that option... there is a plan in place that states who is able to buy and who is not... they do not get to pick and choose... they have to treat all employees the same or risk problems with the gvmt...

It has nothing to do with you adding to the bottom line...


Now.... they COULD have said you were a full time salaried employee that only came in 12 hours a week... but then they would have to subsidize your policy...
But a company is allowed to extend COBRA beyond 18 months if it wants to. That is only a minimum, as I read in the rules which set up COBRA.
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:05 AM   #33
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YMMV, but my experience with HR and requests for policy exceptions is that unless the company is very small (under 100 employees) the chances on an exception being made is very small. In fact, it's dangerous to ask as bigger companies sometimes react badly and classify you as disloyal (or at least no longer under their conventional control) and may maneuver you out at their earliest convenience, without severance. On the other hand, requests for reduced responsibilities or even part-time hours can be successful. How feasible would it be to design a lesser job you would enjoy for two years? Might your boss support such a move, say as a senior staff adviser instead of a line VP?
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:44 AM   #34
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But a company is allowed to extend COBRA beyond 18 months if it wants to. That is only a minimum, as I read in the rules which set up COBRA.
Perhaps, but if I run the company and agree to do it for you because I like you and want to help you out I am then exposed to make similar decisions for future requests and if I deny them because the circumstances are different I might be sued as being discriminatory, particularly if the future requestor is in some minority class. Not worth the risk.
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:46 AM   #35
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I would be willing to do such a deal. Don't think one year would be required to train replacement though. Maybe 6 months. But the bigger problem is I've no idea how to negotiate such an arrangement. This seems like a much larger 'ask' than what I'm currently thinking about on the retiree qualification exception.


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As a VP you probably know what kind of severance package employees get if they are terminated. IE 2 weeks of pay for every year with a company.

It amounts to asking to be let go when next layoff happens. Usually large companies will do them at least once a year.

In my megacorp one has this discussion with HR and manager and they usually will accommodate such request. As a drawback clearly they will control time when you leave.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:15 AM   #36
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Perhaps, but if I run the company and agree to do it for you because I like you and want to help you out I am then exposed to make similar decisions for future requests and if I deny them because the circumstances are different I might be sued as being discriminatory, particularly if the future requestor is in some minority class. Not worth the risk.
My former company actually did this for me when I first switched to working part-time in 2001. It included some telecommuting after the company relocated to New Jersey, making my trip there longer. I should point out that they offered me this deal, I didn't ask for it, and didn't know it even existed.

In 2002, I learned that a coworker, a pregnant woman, had asked for the same deal but was denied. She had worked for the company the same length of time but in her tenure she was not as productive a worker as I had been and her job duties were not as good a fit with telecommuting as mine were. IOW, my division's management was not scared if she resigned (which she did) while they were scared if I did.

The company gave me a special deal with the telecommuting to keep me around. Making one to keep me eligible for group HI (or extending COBRA, an equivalent) seemed like a no-brainer, especially because I was offering to pay 100% of the premiums. But this time, they chose to lose me rather than grant my request so they lost me and everything I learned in 23 years.
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:57 AM   #37
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General consensus seems to be there would be no exception granted. But I'm not seeing much concern in the feedback about at least asking. Seems most folks agree that having the conversation is relatively safe and might lead to other possibilities that might be doable such as reduced role/hours or other options for departure.


Does anyone see harm in at least asking? I've played my FIRE cards so closely to the vest for several years I guess coming out with it is a little scary for me.


Muir
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:15 AM   #38
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Not to be a Debbie downer but there are nondiscrimination requirements with respect to tax-qualified H&W plans. If they offer an exception to you they may have to offer it to a non-discriminatory group of similarly situated employees.


Plus the 40% excise tax (if your plan is indeed "Cadillac") will hit in a few years. No telling what kind of changes to the plan will be made before (or subsequent to) 2018 as a result.


^ not legal advice
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:18 AM   #39
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I was an HR Specialist for many years and agree with others who say that your employer cannot waive the age requirement. It may be possible to cobble a transition plan to bridge you to age 50. It takes time to recruit and select your successor.. a couple months as a minimum. Then you stick around to transition your role.

My former employer had a Director on the payroll for what amounted to a stipend in a consultant role for several years.

Keep in mind the fact that during that period there could be a management change and you could be terminated.

You will be amazed at the change in your stress level when you have a near term exit plan in place.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:28 AM   #40
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If this was me I would negotiate layoff and getting severance pay.

In exchange I would spend what ever time is needed in coaching my replacement and making this smooth transition for my boss. So it may be like 1 year project to say good bye to your company.

I had seen this done in megacorp of 50k people plus. Win win for everybody.

This is a technique to get most money....not to quit right now . You may be FI but getting most money when leaving your job may be prudent thing to do.
Well, here is a problem.

Most Mega's don't allow a layoff and training a replacement. A layoff is a reduction in force where the position will not be replaced.

However, negotiating a downsized position may be an option - but along with that comes a reduction in pay.

Knowing what you know about the medical package, I would: (1) determine the annual cost of this subsidized package, and (2) get a quote to replace it on the private market. You can't make a rational decision without knowing "compared to what?"

The cost of #2 will be higher than #1, as your employer is getting a commercial rate. Understand that in the future, the subsidy can go down and you are left with a higher share of the premium to pay.
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