Will retiree health benefits survive FAS 106?Physician Exec. 1993 Jul-Aug; 19(4):58-60.PE
Recent months have seen dramatic public announcements about retiree health care coverage. General Motors recorded a $24 billion quarterly loss this year, due almost entirely to a one-time charge for future retiree health care costs. Other major employers have also reported sudden staggering losses, along with plans to decrease or stop retiree health coverage entirely. Some of these companies have been taken to court. The headlines also identify a culprit--an obscure accounting requirement, Financial Accounting Standard 106. To understand how an accounting rule can have such a profound effect on both the health care of our seniors and the financial strength of American industry, it is necessary to understand how employers pay for their retirees' care, how new accounting rules governing these costs can threaten a company's survival, and how employers are changing their employees' health coverage to meet these threats.