UPDATE NOVEMBER 2020: REMC has appealed the ruling to the Indiana Court of Appeals. The appellate court will likely hand down its decision in two to six months.
In the early 1970s, health insurance costs were much less expensive than they are today. As such, health insurance coverage under the REMC‘s group plan was available to the REMC directors. At that time the Board adopted a policy allowing former directors and their spouses to receive health insurance coverage for life at the REMC’s cost. In the years since, an effort has been made by later-elected directors to eliminate this benefit. Early revisions of the policy resulted in the Board eliminating the benefit for some, but not all, directors. In 2018, following turnover on the Board, the Board terminated the policy and eliminated co-op paid health insurance for all former directors, believing that the policy is not in the best interest of the cooperative or its members. (The policy change applies only to past directors. It does not affect any employee benefits.)
After the lifetime benefits were terminated, four former directors filed claims against the REMC to reinstate co-op paid lifetime health insurance benefits. A trial court judge has recently found against the REMC in this suit, but the REMC is appealing that ruling. We, the Board, want what is best for members of the cooperative and feel strongly that the Board’s 2018 decision was lawful and appropriate. You can find all of the details at MyCase.IN.gov, case number 10C01-1808-CT-000143.