For about a month now, the company and the Guild, along with the unions for the mailroom and the press, have been negotiating the 2019 health care package.
The company initially proposed increasing the current out-of-pocket individual deductible, which has been $750 for several years, to $950 as part of coverage with our current carrier, MVP.
This increase would be part of a package that would include a form of telephone medical “concierge” service aimed at dealing with routine health issues without the expenses associated with a doctor’s office visit.
Under our current system, once the deductible is reached, expenses are then reimbursed through a company/Guild fund run by our insurance carrier, Brown and Brown.
Given that our contract has been static for some time now, the Guild indicated that we did not see a deductible increase as warranted, while we understood the company’s interest in the concierge service. We felt that our members should not be forced to pay for it.
Subsequently, the company amended its proposal to increase the deductible to $850 as part of the concierge package. After due reconsideration, your Guild officers again indicated to the company that we could not support an increase to the deductible.
Last week, the company indicated it was implementing the $850 deductible regardless. The Guild remains willing to engage in continued negotiation. We are concerned that once the deductible is raised, it could happen again in subsequent years with no effective means to oppose it.
Currently, our weekly composite health contribution is $68.71 a week. If the deducible remains at $750, that contribution would be increased next year to $69.95, based on the increases in MVP and Guardian dental premiums for 2019.
Raising the deductible to $850 would result in a new weekly contribution of $69.01. It would also mean that people will be exposed to an additional out-of-pocket expense of up to $100, based on their medical bills.
The company claims it can unilaterally implement this increase since the coverage is “comparable” to this year’s plan, even with the $100 increase in potential out-of-pocket expenses to our members.
The Teamsters in the mailroom also rejected the deductible increase, and subsequently, received the same notice from the company as did the Guild.
Consequently, the Guild is currently researching its options with the International union as it considers a potential response. At this point, the company has indicated it is moving ahead to increase the deductible in 2019.
We will keep you advised. Please share your thoughts on this with any Guild officer: Brian Nearing (x5094) Amanda Fries (x5353), Marianne Mahr (x5589), Jennifer Rodd (x5597), Rob Gavin (x5064), Mark Hempstead (x5675), and Jeff Boyer (x5429).