Sobering News About Health Plan Benefits
Brothers and Sisters,
I’m writing you this letter from the annual Union Pension Convention where the news is somewhat sobering in the world of pensions and benefits. As we are all aware, costs are going up, and there’s only so much the union can do to hold back rising costs that are affecting Americans across the country right now.
After our most recent Pension and Health Trust meeting, some changes will be forthcoming. On the Health Plan, all of our Health Insurance Providers have raised their premiums for our existing coverage. In an effort to reduce those premium increases, some of the co-pays and deductibles were raised. Kaiser’s co-pays stayed the same since their premium increase wasn’t significant. The co-pay for United Healthcare went up from $5 to $25 per office visit. Emergency room visits went from $50 to $250.
In addition to cost increases, the number of qualifying hours will be increasing from 100 hours to 115 hours. These changes will take effect on January 1, 2023. A detailed information letter from the Health Trust will be mailed out to each of you very soon. These changes will affect the Inside Wireman, Traffic Signal Wireman, Sound and Communications, Railroad Maintainers, Concrete Coring, Fairplex, Santa Anita Racetrack and Material Handlers. Even some of the Residential Wireman (who were grandfathered in) are affected.
We faced some stark choices. Either the hourly contribution had to increase (which was not likely) or more hours to qualify were needed. For some of you, qualifying is going to be challenging under the new formula. Since a normal work month is typically 160 hours of contribution, that means that each of the previously mentioned classifications (all of which have different hourly contribution rates) may have to make some changes in order to get the same level of health care coverage. Alternatively, a different health plan may be the solution.
Your union is working hard to maintain as many of your benefits as possible in this environment. We appreciate your understanding as we work together to lessen the burden on our members.
Remember, all of these changes will take effect on January 1, 2023.
As always, if you have questions, call the Health Trust. The Local 11 Agents are also available. And of course, you can call the main office. Everyone, please have a safe Halloween and a happy Thanksgiving holiday!
Gaylord R “Rusty” Roten
President IBEW Local 11