YOUNGSTOWN LTV, retirees reach deal on health insurance

Notices about the cancellation of health coverage are expected to be mailed by Jan. 31.
YOUNGSTOWN -- LTV Corp. will maintain health insurance coverage for its salaried retirees until at least Feb. 27.
The bankrupt steelmaker and a committee that was appointed to represent the retirees reached a deal on the insurance coverage, which was approved Tuesday by Judge William Bodoh of U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
The deal says there will be no changes in benefits for these retirees before Feb. 28, although the company may terminate benefits on that date.
If health insurance is canceled, the retirees may keep their coverage under the federal COBRA law, which allows people to retain part of health plans if they pay premiums. The agreement says coverage could be maintained until the last active LTV employee is terminated.
The agreement also says LTV is to provide 28 days' notice of termination of benefits. The retirees committee is to receive the notice by Friday so it can review it. The notices are expected to be mailed by Jan. 31.
Under an earlier agreement, health-care benefits for hourly retirees are to be paid from a special fund set by LTV, but that money is expected to run out by the middle of this year.
Pensions: The federal Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp. has said it will pick up the basic pension benefits of LTV employees.
Cleveland-based LTV has said it will keep its steel mills idling until Feb. 28 and then shut them down if they are not sold. Its coke plants are idling until Jan. 31. It is still operating tubular plants but intends to sell them as well.

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