The main coal company operating in Wyoming will cut a health care benefits program for retired miners, the Star-Tribune confirmed on Wednesday. To save on costs, Peabody Energy will no longer cover the medical costs of Medicare workers and stop providing life insurance to retirees.
The change, which was first reported by St. Louis Public Radio, was triggered after the company undertook a financial review earlier this year. Continuing to cover the cost of existing medical benefits for retirees was “not sustainable,” the company concluded. Dropping the Retiree Health Care Program will save Peabody Energy $ 174.5 million.
Wyoming’s unrepresented employees and retirees, as well as workers in other states in which the company operates, will be affected by the change.
Peabody declined to reveal how many Wyoming workers would be affected. The coal operator owns the North Antelope Rochelle, Rawhide and Caballo mines in the Powder River basin.
“We regret that we cannot maintain our existing retiree health care program; However, we continue to provide financial support to retirees under the age of 65, ”said Julie Gates, Peabody’s vice president of communications, in a written statement. “The change in financial support is designed to keep Peabody’s Retiree Medical Grant where it’s needed most – for retirees and spouses who are under 65 and who are Medicare-eligible. The decision to allocate funds where they are most needed follows several other initiatives the company has undertaken this year to further improve our operational performance and ensure that we have a scalable structure capable of responding to the need. changing market conditions. “