Business Manager DC#3 Blog
I want to take this opportunity to talk about our Health and Welfare fund. Ten years ago the trustees of both Local Unions (558 & 2012) H&W worked very hard to merge the two funds with a new plan design that would be beneficial to all participants. The new plan has worked with no increases less one year of a .42 cent increase and that was due to an unprecedented utilization of the fund in all categories.
The prescription drug costs have also skyrocketed, with drug companies jacking up their prices, sometimes up to 700%. The trustees have decided to implement the working spouse rule. We are one of the last funds associated with the Builders Association to make this move. Although we never like to add cost to the members or their families sometimes there is no other way. The working spouse rule will only affect the married members that have a working spouse with the ability to get Health care through their employer for less than $250.00 per month.
Understand that our fund absorbs the total cost of all medical expenses as the fund stands today, If the working spouse can have H&W through their company and use our fund as a secondary coverage this would be a cost sharing mechanism that will help our fund stay solvent at the $6.60 contribution.
I would ask that you keep an eye out for several mailings that will prepare you for the change that will go into effect on January 1st of 2018. Some employers only have one open enrolment period per year, but that will not be the case here as this will trigger a qualifying event that is spelled out in the current ACA language.
If the cost for H&W is higher than $250.00 per month for your working spouse you will NOT have to take it, this will require that an affidavit be filled out by the employer and provided to us in a timely manner. This is for major medical not the ancillary benefits such as dental and optical insurance which would surely go over the $250.00 max.
As trustees we have a goal of 12 months reserve for the fund, and with the increase of work hours we currently sit at 9.2 months. The purpose of the reserve is to keep the fund solvent through the bad years of low work hours without having to add money to the contribution. When negotiating our Collective Bargaining agreements it's hard to get money on the check when we keep adding to the pensions and H&W and we believe that this will help. Once again I want to stress that this is not an option if the H&W for your spouse is available at less than $250.00 per month.