Business & Economy
9:03 am
Thu September 19, 2013

Duke Energy To End Retiree Benefit Packages

Duke Energy provides electricity for most of North Carolina since the 2012 merger.
Credit Duke Energy

Duke Energy is dropping its practice of paying for retirees' health benefits.  The country's largest utility joins companies like IBM, General Electric and Time Warner in the policy change.

 Instead of covering insurance for more than 14,000 retirees, Duke Energy will give them a yearly stipend.  Retirees can use that payment to buy their own coverage.  Dave Scanzoni is a company spokesman.

"Duke Energy will offer through United Healthcare a variety of different plans," Scanzoni said. " So the United Healthcare team will work with our retirees who choose this insurance -- of course it's voluntary -- to select the plan that's most appropriate for a retiree's needs based on health cost, age and so forth."

About 6,600 of those retirees are in North Carolina.  Duke Energy has not released full details on the plan, but has sent detailed letters to its eligible former employees.  The value of stipends has not been disclosed.  Retirees who are union members in Florida will not be eligible for the plan.