Union Members Express Outrage After Cabell Huntington Hospital Cuts Health Insurance for Retired Nurses Amid COVID19

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Retirees who had worked as nurses with Cabell Huntington Hospital recently received a letter that the hospital system would “terminate” their supplemental health insurance coverage. Supplemental insurance for retiree nurses had been a long-standing promise and policy at the hospital – a matter of survival for some retired seniors, especially amid a pandemic.

For Immediate Release: February 4th, 2021.
Press Contact: Joyce Gibson, jgibson@seiu1199.org, 304-654-0824.

HUNTINGTON, WEST VIRGINIA – Retired nurses were recently notified by letter that they would lose their retiree supplemental health insurance. The letter notified nurses, some who had worked for Cabell Huntington Hospital for decades, that the hospital would discontinue their supplemental insurance. For service and maintenance workers who have long been union members at the hospital, retiree benefits are written into their contract and guaranteed.

“Supplemental insurance was a long-standing commitment made by Cabell Huntington Hospital to these nurses who provided outstanding care. The hospital told them, if you retire from Cabell Huntington Hospital and have 17 years of service or more, we will provide you with supplemental insurance and prescription drug coverage,” said Joyce Gibson, Secretary-Treasurer with SEIU District 1199. “Supplemental insurance for retiree nurses was the policy of the hospital – this was their promise,” Gibson continued.

Retiree nurses received letters dated January 28th that the hospital would no longer continue their supplemental insurance. For pre-65 retirees (Read: Pre-65 Retiree Letter), monthly costs will now range from $125 for a basic plan to $265 a month for coverage with a spouse. For post-65 retirees (Read: Post-65 Retiree Letter), the Medicare Supplement Plan promised by the hospital has been “terminated.” The letter to Post-65 seniors states: “Our records show that you are enrolled in the Post-65 Retiree Medicare Supplement Plan currently offered to you by Cabell Huntington Hospital Inc. This letter is being sent to notify you that your coverage under this plan will terminate effective March 31, 2021.”

“Cabell Huntington Hospital made a promise to these workers and in addition to a $10.55M acquisition of the Huntington Internal Medicine Group by St. Mary’s Medical Center in 2020, total annual executive compensation was recently in the millions,” said Joyce Gibson. “These nurses worked at Cabell Huntington Hospital year after year and they were always here for the people of Huntington,” Gibson concluded.

SEIU District 1199 has represented workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital for over 40 years. In the largest victory since West Virginia became a “right-to-work” state, nurses at Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in November 2019. Technical workers with Cabell Huntington Hospital joined SEIU District 1199 in February 2020.

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