By PETER HUSSMANN
Maytag retirees impacted by a switch from Maytag to Whirlpool benefit plans are receiving another dose of bad news with a letter from the Benton Harbor, Mich. corporation saying life insurance coverage provided to employees is also impacted by the change.
The letter retirees began receiving today states:
"As you know, all Newton retirees adopted the Whirlpool retiree benefit plans effective Jan. 1, 2009. As such, eligibility for the Dependent Only Life insurance plan insured by MetLife ended on Dec. 31, 2008.
"Due to system error, contributions for this benefit were deducted from your pension check for January, February and March of 2009. The issue has been resolved so that this deduction will no longer be taken. Your next pension check will show a refund for the amount deducted in error.
You will have the option to continue this coverage with MetLIfe by converting your coverage to an individual plan. You will receive additional information on conversion options from MetLife within two weeks of receipt of this letter. Please look for this important package of information.
"We regret any confusion this may have caused. ...
Regards, Whirlpool Corporate Benefits"
Newton Maytag retirees have sued Whirlpool over the switch in health insurance coverage. A jurisdictional battle is being waged between Michigan and Iowa federal court systems.