The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


May 31, 2017billrossInquirer

Guild Members:

This is the latest information as we transition into the Teamsters Health & Welfare Vicinity Fund’s health care coverage (Vicinity Plan) on June 1, 2017. The Guild and Company Trustees will continue to meet during the month to try and create cost savings for members who are adversely affected by the transition. Below summarizes The Guild’s understanding how opt-outs, members that are currently classified as single under the current Newspaper Guild Plan, members currently with other than single cover with a working spouse, and part-time members will be handled.

The Vicinity Plan) requires those members that are currently classified as “opt-outs” to enroll as single members and the Guild Health & Welfare Fund will pay the $20.00 weekly employee contribution rate for those members from June 1, 2017 – June 1, 2018.

Members that are currently enrolled as single will now be allowed to remain as single under the Vicinity Plan effective June 1, 2017 – June 1, 2018. Their contribution rate will remain at the weekly rate of $20.00. The Teamsters Health & Welfare Fund will send new enrollment forms in April 2018 to those members that are currently enrolled in single coverage and you will be required to list all of your dependents. If applicable, you will need to change to other than single coverage. Keep in mind, that if you are currently enrolled in dental only for your family and you would like to continue the dental coverage for your dependents, you will need to enroll in the full coverage including medical, dental and prescription. Although the Guild will be covering the $20.00 weekly payroll deduction for the single coverage, you would be responsible for the additional $30.00 payroll deduction to be enrolled in other than single coverage. If you choose not to pay the additional payroll deduction, you would only have single coverage for yourself.

For members who currently have other than single coverage, if your spouse works more than 32 hours per week and is eligible for health care coverage with his/her employer, then he/she must do so. Your weekly rate remains at $50.00 and the Vicinity Plan becomes your spouse’s secondary coverage.

Part-time members, with less than 30 average weekly hours paid over the 12 months prior to March 30, 2017 who currently have full medical coverage or dental only coverage in the Newspaper Guild Health & Welfare Plan, may choose to be grandfathered into full coverage (Medical/Dental/ Pharmacy) or elect no coverage. Dental only coverage will no longer be available. Employee contribution rate will now be $20.00 for single coverage and/or $50.00 for other than single coverage.

Current part-time members, with at least 30 average weekly paid hours over the 12 months prior to March 30, 2017 will be required to enroll in the Vicinity Plan with single or other than single coverage.

Current part-time members with less than 30 average weekly paid hours over the 12 months prior to March 30, 2017 are not eligible for Vicinity Plan coverage.

Finally, part-time members with at least 30 average weekly paid hours, hired after March 30, 2017, will not be eligible to participate in the Vicinity Plan until after one calendar year from date of hire.

ID cards for both medical and pharmacy plans should be received within 7-10 days. In the event that a situation arises prior to the receipt of your ID card, the Vicinity Fund will have the ability to print temporary cards for those members enrolled in the Blue Cross PPO Plan only, but they will have the ability to provide ID numbers for those enrolled in the Aetna HMO Plan. They will also be able to provide ID information for your pharmacy plan through CVS/Caremark. Temporary cards can only be emailed securely. There will be no faxing ID cards as they have no way of knowing as to whether or not the receiving fax is secured.

The Vicinity Fund staff will be available to assist any Guild members. The Fund office will be open until 8 PM this evening if anyone should have any questions. You can reach their Member Services Department at 1-800-523-2846.

We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding as we transition to this new plan. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call me at 267-240-8540 or email me at

In Unity,

Bill Ross