Negotiations Update - February 7, 2015
On February 3, the Benefits Committee convened at the offices of Cheiron in Chicago to review the TeamCare proposal. This is the proposal that was reported on in the January 17 Dispatch and was provided to the Benefits Committee that weekend. The Benefits Committee spent the previous two weeks reviewing the proposal and the corresponding plan documents. The Benefits Committee spent all day on February 3 dissecting the proposal with the help of benefits actuary Gaelle Gravot to prepare questions for the meeting with TeamCare on the February 4.
On February 4 both the Benefits and the Negotiating Committees met at the offices of TeamCare in Rosemont, IL. TeamCare made a presentation to the group explaining what they could offer the group as well as the size and health of the fund. Currently TeamCare provides insurance to close to 500,000 people and has 21.5 months of funding in reserve. What that means is that if every company in the fund stopped contributing, TeamCare would be able to provide benefits for 21.5 months. The presentation continued until lunch. After lunch, both committees asked questions of TeamCare representatives until the end of the day. It was determined that there were still questions and so both committees returned on February 5 to get more answers.
TeamCare had responses for the outstanding questions prepared for the group that morning. After receiving those answers, the Benefits Committee met with the assistance of Gaelle Gravot and attorney Ed Gleason. The committee discussed the proposal until right before lunch. Both committees then met and discussed the findings of the benefits committee. At the end of the discussion, given that the overall benefits provided were better and the cost was lower, the Benefits Committee unanimously recommended to the rank-and-file negotiating committee that they adopt the TeamCare proposal. The rank-and-file committee discussed the findings and recommendations of the benefits committee. When it appeared that all questions were asked, one of the rank-and-file committee members called for the question. The vote was taken and there was no opposition to the recommendation of the Benefit Committee. Before the proposal was adopted, a couple of committee members asked that all representatives except for the thirteen voting members recuse themselves. The thirteen members then met and again the recommendation of the Benefits Committee was overwhelmingly adopted without opposition.
Accordingly, the TeamCare proposal was added to the comprehensive proposal that will be given to mediator McGuckin on Monday the February 9.
For those members in an HMO in California, Hawaii, Denver and Chicago, TeamCare will be replicating those plans so there will be nothing new except for whatever the final cost share ends up to be. For everyone else the proposal is for a non-grandfathered plan that is similar to the MM100 plan offered by TeamCare with coverage provided mostly by Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Non-grandfathered plans are subject to regulations of the ACA so that is why there are differences from the MM100 plan. It was deemed by the committee that it would be better to move forward with the non-grandfathered plan as it provides more benefits to the membership. To see the plan documents for MM100, click here and use code MA. The committee was informed that 95 percent of all hospitals and 91 percent of doctors are in network. To see if your doctor participates, click here.
The Benefits Committee was then excused and thanked for their diligence. At that point there were several clarifying questions to Ed Gleason about the committee’s pension proposal. In the end there were no changes recommended to the pension proposal made in November of 2013.
The committee then worked towards putting the finishing touches on the comprehensive proposal. As stated above, this work is complete as of this writing and the proposal will be forwarded to mediator McGuckin on February 9. It is believed that once the mediator reviews this proposal the parties will possibly reconvene later this month.