Many retirees have long received medical benefits in connection with a pension benefit, that is, if the plan did not clearly say that the benefits did not vest. If the plan awarded a pension and a medical benefit with it, the medical benefit was preserved to vest with the pension. This was called the Yard-Man Presumption. The 6th Circuit had long used this rule. Now, this presumption that the health benefit was vested was overturned this year by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case M&G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett.

Retirees who have long have received health insurance benefits as part of their retirement benefit may now find employers moving to strip that benefit. Unless a welfare benefit, such as a health benefit, is clearly described as a vested benefit-don’t count on receiving it!