The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia


April 2, 2018billrossInquirer

Guild members,
Effective June 1 2018, the Trustees of the Guild Health and Welfare Plan will change our Health Care provider to the Teamsters Local 830 Health and Welfare Plan. We have made this change to save our participants out of pocket expenses and to improve the provision of this important benefit to you and your families.

We are confident that all of the plan participants and beneficiaries will continue to receive excellent care under the Local 830 plan. Attached is a summary of the covered benefits and costs. During the next 60 days your benefits will continue under the current provider. You will receive notices from the new provider very soon.
Why is this happening? There are a few major reasons — issues that have been points of contention among many of you ever since we went into the Vicinity Fund.
1) The Vicinity Fund forbid employees from opting out of coverage. That meant employees had to take coverage even if they didn’t need it. The new Teamsters plan allows employees to opt out of coverage as long as they can provide proof of coverage elsewhere. That is to ensure that everyone has some form of health care coverage.
2) The Vicinity Fund required employees whose spouses had insurance elsewhere to still have coverage through the Vicinity Fund. That meant those employees were required to pay weekly “other than single rates” ranging from $50 for employees who were already here prior to June 1, 2017, to $100 for new hires. Under the new Teamsters fund, employees whose spouses have insurance elsewhere WILL NOT BE REQUIRED to put that spouse on the plan. If those employees have no children on the plan, they would qualify for the “singles” rate instead of the more costly “other than single” rate. Obviously, if those employees have children on this new plan, they will still be required to pay the new “parent and child” rate. That rate would be $50 a week (under the fee schedule currently proposed) and still $100 for new employees. However, we are trying to negotiate the same rate for all. Our aim is to bring that offensive $100 rate for new employees DOWN to the $50 rate. [AS IS BEING REQUIRED AT VIRTUALLY EVERY COMPANY, THE NEW PLAN WILL REQUIRE THAT IF YOUR SPOUSE HAS ACCESS TO COVERAGE THROUGH HIS OR HER EMPLOYER, THAT COVERAGE MUST BE TAKEN.]
3) The Vicinity Fund also required all employees and spouses to undergo an annual health screening that involved a blood test and dental cleaning in order to qualify for the best coverage: “platinum.” Failure to do so resulted in employees being dropped down to “gold” coverage, subjecting them to higher deductibles and co-pays. More than 100 employees did not complete that screening and suffered the consequences mentioned above. The new Teamsters plan does not require such a screening.
4) The Vicinity Fund had deductibles ($250 for single; $500 for family) under the Blue Cross plan. The new Teamsters plan HAS NO DEDUCTIBLE AS LONG AS YOU STAY WITHIN THE BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD NETWORK. (The BLUES IS THE ONLY OPTION UNDER THIS NEW PLAN, AS EXPLAINED IN THE SUMMARY THAT IS ATTACHED.)

We know you will have many more questions. We are planning open-enrollment meetings at all of our work sites in early May with the new administrator. For now, we just wanted to give you a heads up that relief is on the way.

The Trustees of the Guild Health and Welfare Fund,

Bill Ross
Diane Mastrull
Barbara Sadler
Keith R. Black

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