April 12, 2010
Board urges 'Yes' Vote
The IAPE Board of Directors met Saturday, April 10th and unanimously endorsed the tentative contract agreement with Dow Jones— urging a 'yes' vote by the membership.
An internet vote will be conducted by an independent election company during the last week of April.
Point-by-point comparisons have been posted on the IAPE website so that you can see exactly how the new package effects you and we'll be offering explanations in coming days about other changes to our contract, but we wanted to immediately address a couple of health care related questions we've heard so far.
First of all, there's no blanket waiver on heath care changes (or anything else in this contract.) We negotiated hard caps on premiums and safeguards to benefits.
Premiums will be based on your salary and the number of dependents you carry on your coverage, premiums can change only to the extent that the actual cost of the coverage changes — but under no circumstance can those premiums increase by more than 1% in a given year.
A few numbers to keep in mind: the median income of IAPE-represented members is $72,000. 13% make between $60,000 and $70,000, 13% between $70,000 and $80,000, 12% between $80,000 and $90,000 and 9% make between $90,000 and $100,000, 7% make between $100,000 and $110,000 a year. 34% of the membership makes less than $60,000 a year. 6% make more than $125,000 a year.
44% of the membership has insurance coverage for 'employee only', 20% have 'employee plus one dependent' and 15% have 'employee plus two'.
As far as the price you pay:
If you're making $80,000 a year with the top end insurance plan (Aetna Premium) covering an employee plus one dependent, you will pay 2% of your salary for insurance or $133.33 a month. Right now, POS II insurance under our old contract costs you $197 a month. Last year it cost you $162 a month. In 2008 it was $133 a month. If last year's 3.69% wage increase for IAPE members bumped you into that $80,000 range from the upper 70's, the cost of that plan jumped from $106 a month last year to $197 a month this year. Under the terms of our new contract, Employee only will cost you $66 a month. 'Employee plus two' will cost $149. The old contract numbers are $99 and $284, respectively.
If you choose Aetna Select and are in the same situation as the example above (income of $80,000 and 'employee plus one' coverage), you'll pay 1.5% of your salary for insurance or $100 a month. Under our old contract, Managed Choice coverage now costs $157 a month. Last year it cost you $130 a month. In 2008 it was $106 a month.
If last year's 3.69% wage increase for IAPE members bumped you into that $80,000 range from the upper 70's, the cost of that plan jumped from $85 a month last year to $157 a month this year. With Aetna Select under the new contract, 'Employee only' will be $50. 'Employee plus two' will be $150, down from the current $81 and $235.
At $70,000 a year (employee plus one for Aetna Premium insurance) you'll pay $116 a month. Right now you're paying $135 a month for POS II, up from $106 last year and $82 a month in 2008. For Aetna Select, you'll pay $87.50 a month. Right now, Managed Choice coverage costs you $108 a month, up from $85 a month in 2009 and $65 a month in 2008.
For both plans, we've basically rolled health insurance costs back to 2008 levels — and they will be frozen there for at least the next year and a half. There will be no changes in health insurance premiums or benefits between now and the end of 2011. That's guaranteed in writing in the contract. After that, the worst case increases (an increase of 1% a year) will still be significantly lower than the premium changes we saw in our old contract —48% increases from 2008 to 2010.
We have settled on contract language that ensures health care coverage with no substantive changes in options, benefits or coverage — and we've negotiated exactly what the worst case premiums will be — and have won the guarantee that if costs come down, premiums will be reduced.
The bottom line: the new contract rolls back premiums for more than 90% of the membership (the exceptions are among the highest paid employees who have both the top end insurance and coverage for employee plus three or more dependents) freezes benefits and premiums for a year and a half, safeguards the coverage going forward and establishes written — and enforceable — caps on any changes in premiums (changes that are guaranteed to be smaller than the negotiated premiums increases provided in any year of the current contract.)
This is a contract that you need to vote for.
IAPE Bargaining Committee