healthcare.jpgMore Good News for Teamsters at King County!

The Protected Fund Reserve is officially at $34.2 million as of the end of 2014, up over $9 million from the original seed of $25 million.

The experts are predicting that the Protected Fund Reserve will be just shy of $38 million at the end of this year, and over $39 million by December 31, 2016 which is the last day of the current JLMIC agreement. We will be negotiating a new agreement for 2017 and beyond next year as part of a total compensation bargaining process.

Through 2016, this means: no premium share, and no changes to the important plan provisions such as co-payments, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

A Cautionary Tale: The ATU.

The reason we are able to report this good news is in part because the Joint Labor Management Insurance Committee made responsible decisions early: We increased the benefit access fee, moved to a more carefully controlled formulary for pharmaceuticals, and controlled costs through expert-recommended programs designed to deliver better, more efficient health care.

How do we know this?

Because the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) did not make these changes early enough, and as a result (and combined with some high claims), their Protected Fund Reserve was predicted to be in the red by the end of this year.

To avoid premium share, the ATU had to not only make all the changes that we made earlier, they have now had to make more dramatic changes including: a 17% increase to deductibles, a 25% increase to the annual out-of-pocket maximum, and a big increase in prescription co-pays.

As a Co-Chair on the JLMIC, I am proud that we avoided these impacts and secured the stability of our Protected Fund Reserve by making these important changes early.

So Why Make Any Changes Now?

For the same reason. The last thing we want to do is to stop being responsible with health care dollars. We must continue to maximize the efficiency of our system so that when the big claims come, our Protected Fund Reserve will not be derailed. As a result, for 2016 we (like ATU) will be increasing the Spousal Benefit Access fee from $75 per month to $100 per month for King Care. This enables us to expand benefits as well. Beginning 1/1/2016, the plan will cover all contraceptives at no cost.

As always, if you have questions or concerns about this report, please feel free to contact me.