Autoparts maker ArvinMeritor reportedly will ask company retirees under the age of 65 to contribute more for their healthcare coverage each year from April, and the company will no longer provide supplemental benefits to Medicare-eligible retirees.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the changes are part of the company's plan to decrease its growing healthcare costs. Retirees under age 65 will continue to have access to healthcare coverage at group rates, including a new, lower-cost option. The company said that as it phases out the amount it funds toward the cost of coverage, the retiree's share of the cost will increase each year. With the addition of prescription drug coverage in 2006, retirees age 65 and over can receive comprehensive coverage through Medicare.

"Healthcare costs continue to be one of our fastest-growing business expenses, and with these costs going up 10% or more each year and the competitive pressures of our industry, these changes are necessary," Ernie Whitus, senior vice president of human resources, told the Associated Press.