Why are the Post Office’s retiree healthcare costs so high? Published by Jane the Actuary View all posts by Jane the Actuary
13 thoughts on “Forbes post, “Can The Post Office Cut Its Retiree Healthcare Costs?””
Did you mention about the number of years their pension fund is pre-funded for a staggering number of years. I talked to my mail man today and he liked going to 5 day a week mail delivery. Package delivery on Saturday.
That’s in the prior article! The idea that the Post Office has to fund for future workers is a myth; they have to follow the same general requirements as for all companies, with some moderate variances.
How is it a myth? PAEA of 2006 required that the postal service fund 75 years of retiree health benefits, through 2081, in a 10 year period. Why in the world would you fund retiree health benefits for yet to be born employees of a postal service which may not even exist by then. No other entity/organization in the world does this.
If not for the massive amounts of capitol the USPS pays into FEHB, the system would collapse. The government, a 100% taxpayer funded bailout 100% of the time, with about $1 Trillion debt annually on top of that, doesn’t prefund. They ‘pay as you go’. Their CSRS/FERS are at about 30%.
This was a wholly manufactured fiscal crisis designed to make the USPS a federal piggy bank and to put it exactly into the precarious position we find it today, nothing more. Nearly $400 billion squirrelled away that they can’t touch. Not broke, just broken by Congress.
All this should be moot anyway. Try reading US Code Title 39 Section 101 sometime.
Every single thing done since 2011 in attempts to ‘save’ us have been criminal acts. The only place cost savings can be considered is in the construction of new facilities. Nothing is ever supposed to be done which would impact service, EVER!
Waiting on your next article: “All Federal Pensions and Healthcare Costs should be pre-funded, and at the same percentages”. Don’t see that coming. Congress and the rest of the Feds have set-up the Postal Service as a scape-goat and deflection so they can continue with their own Pensions and Healthcare benefits as they are “pay as you go” with the same benefits and structures in place for them.
I’d love to have federal government workers’ pensions and retiree healthcare fully pre-funded, but for most federal agencies, the notion of pre-funding is a bit of a red herring, when the federal government would just borrow in order to pre-fund. The Post Office, which is supposed to be fully covering its costs via its charges to customers, is in a different situation entirely.
No “red herring”. The federal government should be covering All pension and benefits the same. I propose the Postal Service just do what Congress and the Federal Reserve do. Print say $ 55 billion dollars in postage stamps and pay off all debts and prefunding requirements with the stamps. See how easy that is. If more debts arise then just print more stamps. 😉
Once again you continue to spread inaccurate information. For the USPS, once employees retire FEHB employer funding DOES NOT continue at the same level. It decreases dramatically. Employees’ share increases dramatically. In your last article you stated that USPS employees do not contribute to medicare. Although several comments corrected you on this you did not reply. The 2006 PAEA required the USPS to prefund 75 years of health care costs in 10 years. That is not a myth. That is fact. It has been discussed at length by several financial experts as the driving reason for the USPS financial troubles. Little known fact is that Congress also required the USPS to prefund it’s CERS and FERS retirement as well as future workers comp costs. All told the USPS has prefunded some 300 billion dollars in future costs.
This is correct. As someone who had to take a disability retirement, I found my income cut in half and my FEHB premiums almost doubled. Unable to afford both FEHB and Medicare B, I stuck with FEHB (a no-brainer since my physician at the time didn’t take Medicare). When a person rejects Medicare B, the opportunity comes up every year afterward to sign up but the cost increases..
Comment: Postal employees are not wealthy people. We barely have funds to
get by in retirement. Medicare plus FEHB is a Godsend to us.
An article like this feels like an attack to our security. I doubt you meant it that way. But actuarial logic and analysis should try not to remove the humanity out of the equation.
I suggest that you all read ALL her posts on this topic. There are many, and cover almost every question/outrage expressed here.
As a private sector person, who had to save for her OWN retirement, endure market risk and zero interest rates now and for 12 years to date, I am outraged at the gross entitlement mentality demonstrated by my gov’t SERVANTS, and their thug unions that care NOTHING for the people who foot the bill.
I, and a group of friends, are asking our legislators to make a law that gov’t employees may not have retirement benefits better than those available in the private sector, for equal work. The servant is not greater than the master. How is it that when my company went bankrupt (because of gov’t policies), and my pension went to the PBGC, MY BENEFITS WEREN’T SET AND STONE AND GUARANTEED?!? How can USPS be guaranteed, and mine can’t? Is this equitable? NO.
If the typical gov’t employee that gets a fed retirement of $24,000+/year were in the private sector, he/she would have to have SAVED $4 MILLION to generate that kind of return on his retirement investments, AND would have to take market risk as well. Furthermore, the argument that gov’t employees “make so much less in their earning years” is just not true anymore.
And as far as “helping” the PO, it can BORROW from the Treasury, but not get bailouts. And damn it, they had better show us taxpayers that they have made sufficient changes internally to be solvent AND have the ability TO REPAY THE LOAN. Cureently, that’s not the case. USPS must meet the same creditworthiness standards that I would have to meet if I were getting an unsecured loan. This is real life…For every benefit, there are conditions to meet. Real life.
So USPS and Dims should stop squawking, man up, be fair, and meet their responsibilities to be a solvent employer/borrower, and stop with the entitlement mentality.
When I retired in 2009, I was told my insurance through the post office was creditable coverage and didn’t need Part B! Now with the price of postal insurance going sky high I wish I had Part B!! I don’t think we should be penalized because we did not take it!! If they would grandfather us back for Medicare I would look at different options! Do others feel the same way?