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As of last fall, many Red Cross retirees are receiving their benefits in the form of an annuity, in most cases from Athene, Aetna or John Hancock Financial. ARCRA has created an Annuities Primer on its website that explains what it means to retirees to have their benefits provided through an annuity rather than through the American Red Cross defined benefit pension plan. Basically, an annuity is a contract. For a lump sum payment up front, an insurance company agrees to make periodic payments over the life of the contract. In this case, the contract guarantees payments to Red Cross retirees for the remainder of their life. In 1989, and again in 2017, Red Cross shifted some of its legal obligation to provide pension benefits out of the defined benefit pension plan and into annuities.
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