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Greetings, Melman, and welcome. You wrote:

<<Supposedly, he was told a) they require 25 years of service to qualify for retiree insurance, and b) his leave of absence was more than 12 months, so his first 13 years of service don't count. Officially he retired with 22 years of service.>>

If the plan defines the break in service as any period 12 months or longer and if his break was 13 months, then your dad is out of luck. While seemingly harsh given the number of years he worked for that company, his employer is under no legal obligation to extend group insurance rates to him in retirement.

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