Marshall and Loretta Keeling

Marshall:  I am strongly opposed the reduction in healthcare, because on a fixed pension, I cannot survive without healthcare.  I’d probably go into bankruptcy….if they don’t maintain my healthcare. 

Loretta:  While they may talk about legacy costs, the fact is that, when you retire -- and he’s been retired now for 13 years -- is that those costs have diminishing value over the years.  And it is wonderful but it’s necessary, because now your pension, even Social Security, when you look at your buying power and how much is costs you to do things, they have less and less value.  They may look at it as something that is costing them a lot of money -- and that’s only because there are so many more retirees than there were in the past -- but in point of fact, even when you just pay co-pays, for instance, that is now taking up more and more of your available income. 

So that, for them, it’s a lot of cost, but the retiree it’s still a lot of cost.  And it’s increasing.  I mean, every year come January, I’ve got to look at our health insurance brochures and see what we have lost, how much less it’s covering, what it is no longer covers, the increases now in the co-pay.  And those can be significant. 

Now it’s wonderful if you have really great health, but none of is getting any younger, and you have to anticipate that at some point you may start having sizable medical bills, dental bills.  There’s something about turning 60 or 70, and all of a sudden your health just falls apart!  I can’t tell how many friends that have had to have significant surgery, significant dental work -- things that they never even had while they were working and were more fully covered.  And now, that money, that excess is even greater, because now of course your dentist and your doctors are charging more, so that your co-pay is even higher than it is for a regular employee.  So while people talk about how much they have to pay out, and I can appreciate that, how much retirees now have to pay out is also significant.

Every January, when you get a new brochure, you have to sit down and evaluate it and often you don’t even really appreciate how much more it is going to cost you until you do something you’ve done in the past and find out it’s costing you significantly more.  Just because we’ve just finished doing taxes, I just looked at our tax records how much more we paid in medical and dental, and it far surpasses anything we ever paid while he was working, just because we’ve gotten older.   So all those benefits…I shudder to think what would happen if we didn’t have those benefits, because even at this point, we can only anticipate that it’s going to get more and more.