(a) Coverage of current recipients
The last signatory operator of any individual who, as of February 1, 1993, is receiving retiree health benefits from an individual employer plan maintained pursuant to a 1978 or subsequent coal wage agreement shall continue to provide health benefits coverage to such individual and the individual’s eligible beneficiaries which is substantially the same as (and subject to all the limitations of) the coverage provided by such plan as of January 1, 1992. Such coverage shall continue to be provided for as long as the last signatory operator (and any related person) remains in business.
(b) Coverage of eligible recipients
(1) In general
The last signatory operator of any individual who, as of February 1, 1993, is not receiving retiree health benefits under the individual employer plan maintained by the last signatory operator pursuant to a 1978 or subsequent coal wage agreement, but has met the age and service requirements for eligibility to receive benefits under such plan as of such date, shall, at such time as such individual becomes eligible to receive benefits under such plan, provide health benefits coverage to such individual and the individual’s eligible beneficiaries which is described in paragraph (2). This paragraph shall not apply to any individual who retired from the coal industry after September 30, 1994, or any eligible beneficiary of such individual.
Subject to the provisions of subsection (d), health benefits coverage is described in this paragraph if it is substantially the same as (and subject to all the limitations of) the coverage provided by the individual employer plan as of January 1, 1992. Such coverage shall continue for as long as the last signatory operator (and any related person) remains in business.
(c) Joint and several liability of related persons
(1) In general
Except as provided in paragraph (2), each related person of a last signatory operator to which subsection (a) or (b) applies shall be jointly and severally liable with the last signatory operator for the provision of health care coverage described in subsection (a) or (b).
(2) Liability limited if security provided
(A) security meeting the requirements of paragraph (3) is provided by or on behalf of—
(i) any last signatory operator which is an assigned operator described in section 9704(j)(2), or
(ii) any related person to any last signatory operator described in clause (i), and
(B) the common parent of the controlled group of corporations described in section 9704(j)(2)(B) is jointly and severally liable for the provision of health care under this section which, but for this paragraph, would be required to be provided by the last signatory operator or related person,
then, as of the date the security is provided, such common parent (and no other person) shall be liable for the provision of health care under this section which the last signatory operator or related person would otherwise be required to provide. Security may be provided under this paragraph without regard to whether a payment was made under section 9704(j).
Security meets the requirements of this paragraph if—
(A) the security—
(i) is in the form of a bond, letter of credit, or cash escrow,
(ii) is provided to the trustees of the 1992 UMWA Benefit Plan solely for the purpose of paying premiums for beneficiaries who would be described in section 9712(b)(2)(B) if the requirements of this section were not met by the last signatory operator, and
(iii) is in an amount equal to 1 year of liability of the last signatory operator under this section, determined by using the average cost of such operator’s liability during the prior 3 calendar years;
(B) the security is in addition to any other security required under any other provision of this title; and
(C) the security remains in place for 5 years.
(4) Refunds of security
The remaining amount of any security provided under this subsection (and earnings thereon) shall be refunded to the last signatory operator as of the earlier of—
(A) the termination of the obligations of the last signatory operator under this section, or
(B) the end of the 5-year period described in paragraph (4)(C).1
(d) Managed care and cost containment
The last signatory operator shall not be treated as failing to meet the requirements of subsection (a) or (b) if benefits are provided to eligible beneficiaries under managed care and cost containment rules and procedures described in section 9712(c) or agreed to by the last signatory operator and the United Mine Workers of America.
(e) Treatment of noncovered employees
The existence, level, and duration of benefits provided to former employees of a last signatory operator (and their eligible beneficiaries) who are not otherwise covered by this chapter and who are (or were) covered by a coal wage agreement shall only be determined by, and shall be subject to, collective bargaining, lawful unilateral action, or other applicable law.
(f) Eligible beneficiary
For purposes of this section, the term “eligible beneficiary” means any individual who is eligible for health benefits under a plan described in subsection (a) or (b) by reason of the individual’s relationship with the retiree described in such subsection (or to an individual who, based on service and employment history at the time of death, would have been so described but for such death).
(g) Rules applicable to this part and part II
For purposes of this part and part II—
The term “last signatory operator” shall include a successor in interest of such operator.
(2) Reassignment upon purchase
If a person becomes a successor of a last signatory operator after the enactment date, the last signatory operator may transfer any liability of such operator under this chapter with respect to an eligible beneficiary to such successor, and such successor shall be treated as the last signatory operator with respect to such eligible beneficiary for purposes of this chapter. Notwithstanding the preceding sentence, the last signatory operator transferring such assignment (and any related person) shall remain the guarantor of the benefits provided to the eligible beneficiary under this chapter. A last signatory operator shall notify the trustees of the 1992 UMWA Benefit Plan of any transfer described in this paragraph.
(Added Pub. L. 102–486, title XIX, §19143(a), Oct. 24, 1992, 106 Stat. 30 ; amended Pub. L. 109–432, div. C, title II, §211(b), Dec. 20, 2006, 120 Stat. 3022.)
2006—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 109–432 reenacted heading without change and amended text of subsec. (c) generally. Prior to amendment, text read as follows: “Each related person of a last signatory operator to which subsection (a) or (b) applies shall be jointly and severally liable with the last signatory operator for the provision of health care coverage described in subsection (a) or (b).”