Important Information from WLEA Local 1:
Some questions have been raised about changes in the state's health insurance program, specifically if those changes were bargained with the unions.
ETF establishes uniform benefits for health insurance plans. Each plan is allowed to exceed the benefits, but since companies need to turn a profit in order to stay in business, they don't stray far from the basic requirements.
Act 10 required the overall cost of health insurance plans to decrease by 5% in 2012. Actual costs are increasing by 7-10% annually, so the only way to decrease the cost is to increase deductibles or decrease coverage. There is no other way around that. Act 10 is law, and bargaining can't go contrary to law.
The co-pays (deductibles) apply to non-preventative visits and medical services. In short, the law requires the employee to pay a minimum of 12% of the premium, but the law doesn't set a maximum. If the minimum was 12% in 2011, and the overall cost decreased by 5% in 2012, the employee contribution actually becomes 12.6%. It would be a safe bet that those costs will continue to rise over the next few years.
The bigger cost is buried in the deductibles. The new coverage has a 90/10 split on non-preventative costs up to a maximum of $500 individual/$1000 family. The Standard Plan has even larger increases. The co-pay for Emergency Room visits will also increase to $75. These increased co-pays are designed to encourage prevention, but when your child needs to go to urgent care, there will be a cost to you.
Many of you will remember when our prescription service changed to Navitus. That wasn't negotiated with the unions either. It was a cost savings measure instituted under Governor Doyle. However, if you need one of those $35 per month prescriptions, it sure isn't a cost saver for you.
The bottom line is to look at your insurance plan for 2012. Make sure it is the best fit for your needs. If you are interested in Flex Spending Accounts, sign up for that as well to minimize the tax impacts on your paycheck.
For more information about the insurance changes, go to www.etf.wi.gov