2018 Health Insurance Update

The news for the 2018 health insurance coverage is a mix of good and bad. First, the good: The company’s health insurance consultant, the local firm of Brown and Brown, was able to negotiate a 4.9 percent premium increase from our current provider, MVP. There will be no need to change health care providers.

Given the current uncertainty in the health care market, due to the current political outlook on potential changes in the federal Affordable Care Act, a premium increase in the low single digits was very favorable.

Now, for the bad news. As you know, the Guild has long maintained a so-called “composite” health care rate, in which separate rates for single (one person), double (two people) and family (parents with children) coverage are blended in a single rate that applies to all members. Guild policy has been to use a blended rate so that all members are treated equally, with risks and benefits shared, regardless of family status.

Unfortunately, an increasing proportion of highest-rate family members covered in the Guild plan, which is being driven by a steep decline in the number of single members, has resulted in a larger percentage increase in this blended rate.

Accordingly, the total MVP monthly blended rate will increase from $958.97 to $1,054.98, an increase of 10 percent.

There is also going to be a premium increase in the dental insurance component, driven by claims filed for dental coverage in 2017. However, that increase is being mitigated by a change in the dental insurance carrier, from Cigna to Guardian.

The current Cigna rate is $50.77 a month, while the new Guardian rate will be $63.53 a month. Remaining with Cigna would have resulted in a monthly rate of $82.60.

Use this search tool to find dentists who accept Guardian coverage in the Capital Region: https://www.guardiananytime.com/fpapp/FPWeb/dentalSearch.processNews about your

Accordingly, the new MVP rate, combined with the Guardian rate, will result in a total monthly premium increase from $1,185.82 in 2017 to $1,294.59 in 2018.

As has been the case since 2008, the Guild contract requires our members to cover 23 percent of this cost. So, the current weekly deduction will be increasing from $62.95 to $68.71, an increase of slightly more than 9 percent. Over the course of the year, that will be an extra $300 per employee.

Current individual deductible levels of $2,000, with the employee being responsible for the first $750, remain unchanged. Prescription out-of-pocket will also remain unchanged from current levels of $10/$30/$50.

November’s Executive Board Meeting Agenda

There will be a meeting of Local 34’s Executive Board at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 8 at the Labor Temple. As always, these meetings are open to the membership.

Executive Board Agenda

  1. Approval of minutes
  2. Treasurer’s report
    • Monthly update
    • Marv Cermak Donation received
  3. Commission committee
  4. Communications committee
    • Website & Social Media
    • Newsletter
  5. Mobilizing committee
  6. Grievances and arbitrations
  7. Contract negotiations
  8. Solidarity/support for other unions
  9. Old business
    • Membership Meeting Recap
    • Holiday Party on Friday, 12/1
  10. New business
  11. Adjourn

Guild Annual Membership Meeting and Vote on Proposed Bylaw Changes

The Newspaper Guild of Albany will hold its annual meeting at 12:30 p.m. Tuedsay, October 17, at the Colonie Public Library. There will also be votes on two proposed bylaw changes.

Amendment 1: Amendment Notification Requirements
Currently, any change to the bylaws requires all members to receive notice by mail at least 30 days’ prior to a vote of the exact language to be changed. We had sought an opinion from the international on whether we could send out postcards informing members of the vote and refer them online to the wording of the question. (We would provide written copies to anyone who did not have Internet access.) Ironically, we were told doing so would require an amendment of the bylaws. Therefore this amendment remedies that situation. The exact language changes are shown below.

Amendment 2: Officer Title Changes
This amendment would save the Guild money on workers’ compensation costs by merely changing the titles of two of the vice presidents to board member at large. The exact language changes are on the reverse of this flyer.