Vote set for Thursday on health care

Change in dental plan comes with new benefits, $2,000 annual cap

Members will get to decide Thursday on health care coverage for 2016 that includes a proposed change in dental plans. The new plan comes with improved coverage but also has a $2,000 annual cap on expenses.

Employees whose coverage cost more than that would have to pay anything above the $2,000.

The Guild asked the Company how many employees would have exceeded the cap. In each of the last two years, two people had more than $2,000 in dental costs. It was different people each year, so four in all.

In 2014, one person had $2,742.40 in claims while another had $2,160.80. In 2015, one person had $2,300 in claims and the other had $2,250.40. Of course, what is unknown is if the employees could have delayed some of those services had the cap been in place to avoid paying any overrun.

The cap would increase each year by $100, and there is a 6.7 percent cap on increasing the rate for dental coverage for 2017.

As we said in an earlier bulletin, the Cigna PPO plan would offer coverage for some work, likes bridges, dentures and periodontics, that are not now covered. It would also include a deductible of $50 for singles and $150 for families for some expenses, although preventive care would be 100 percent covered. (Currently it’s 80 percent covered.)

The differences between the Cigna plan and the existing Blue Cross plan are sufficient that a switch will require a vote of the membership. (The contract language, still in effect, requires a vote when a new plan is not comparable to the old one.)

Rowlands & Barranca, who administer health insurance for the Times Union, will make a presentation on the differences to all employees at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Executive Conference Room. Guild members are encouraged to attend.

A vote will be held in the advertising conference room on Thursday from noon until 1 p.m. and then again from 5-5:30 p.m. (That’s a shorter window for the evening session, but we’ve found in recent votes that no one shows up after 5:30 p.m.)

The vote will cause a slight delay in the start of Thursday’s Executive Board meeting, which will follow immediately after the vote count at the Guild’s office in the Albany Labor Temple. That meeting, as always, is open to the membership.

One thought on “Vote set for Thursday on health care

  1. The limited coverage for bridges and periodontics is a great improvement. I spent more than $2,000 on a bridge repair and got no reimbursement at all for it. I guess you were just supposed to come to work without front teeth.

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