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Kodak looks to cut health care coverage for retirees

Kodak looks to cut health care coverage for retirees

NEW YORK—Financially troubled Eastman Kodak Co., looking to cut benefit costs as it reorganizes under bankruptcy protection, is seeking to terminate health care coverage for about 16,000 participants in its retiree health care program.

In a filing Monday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, Kodak said it wants to drop coverage for employees who retired on or after Oct. 1, 1991, and are eligible for Medicare.

By eliminating the coverage, Kodak will save $20.5 million in annual cash costs and a balance sheet liability of $223 million, the company said in its bankruptcy filing.

Affected participants, Kodak noted, will continue to be eligible for Medicare and will be “economically” able to replace Kodak-provided coverage “with retail products readily available in the market.”

For Kodak, “Terminating these benefits will generate significant cost savings and thus preserve much-needed liquidity going forward, which…will facilitate successful reorganization,” the company said in its filing.

In a letter to retirees posted on the company's website last month, Kodak said the bankruptcy filing would have no impact on its pension plan, “given that the plan is well-funded.”

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