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Bethlehem Steel: Press Room
  Bethlehem Steel: Press Room

Motion Filed to Terminate Retiree Health, Life Insurance Benefits

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    For Immediate Release

    BETHLEHEM, Pa., March 5, 2003 - Bethlehem Steel Corporation has taken the next step required by the Section 1114 of the Bankruptcy Code to terminate health care benefits and life insurance for all retired employees and their eligible dependents, effective March 31, 2003. A legal motion to terminate such benefits was filed earlier this week with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Southern District of New York.

    If the bankruptcy judge approves Bethlehem's motion to terminate benefits effective March 31, 2003, retirees will have an option to elect COBRA coverage. Under COBRA, retirees could continue health care coverage, but not life insurance, by paying the full cost of available benefits. Although COBRA may not be a permanent solution to obtaining replacement coverage, the availability of COBRA will provide Bethlehem retirees additional time to evaluate their health care options.

    Bethlehem is also attempting to arrange for access to health and life insurance coverage for its retirees. If such coverage can be arranged, it will be available to current and future retirees who have eligibility for coverage based on their company service.

    Benefits will continue until a termination date has been determined by the bankruptcy court judge. Until that date, which is believed to be March 31, retirees may want to consider alternative health care options. However, until the judge has ruled on the termination date, retirees do not need to purchase replacement insurance. Bethlehem will provide information on COBRA to eligible individuals.

    On February 7, Bethlehem Steel initiated the Section 1114 process of the Bankruptcy Code to eliminate health and life insurance benefits for its retired workforce and their eligible dependents. For the past 17 months since it sought bankruptcy court protection, Bethlehem has continued to pay these benefits, which average about $20 million a month. The corporation regrets that it can no longer pay these benefits.


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