The District recently published CalPERS 2018 Medical Premium Rates and LTA’s proposed 2018 employer/employee cost share amounts, click here to view.
As most of you know, LUSD is part of the CalPERS Health & Welfare Benefits pool. These medical premium rates on set each year by CalPERS, not the District, based on the statewide pool’s demographic medical information. These rates can be reviewed on the CalPERS website and are updated annually each January 1st.
Once these rates are posted, LTA and LUSD must agree to the employer/employee cost share amounts for the calendar year. Per our collective bargaining agreement, we currently have a hard cap health and welfare benefit totaling $8,175 per bargaining unit member. In actuality, LTA was able to manipulate this amount in last year’s negotiations to equate to $8,600 per bargaining unit member. This means the benefit amount the District provides to LTA bargaining unit members is a fixed cost as follows:
$8600 x # of LTA Bargaining Unit Members = TOTAL EMPLOYER COST SHARE
LTA has structured its hard cap benefit so that the total employer cost share is placed in a pool. Based on our bargaining unit demographic data, LTA then has control over how the total employer cost share will be applied to single, two-party, and family premium amounts. Our current distributions agreed to in last year’s negotiation can be reviewed by clicking here. This document outlines the total cost for the bargaining unit and how these amounts are distributed across the pool.
This is different from a hard cap benefit that provides each employee a fixed benefit amount up to that hard cap benefit amount. While this may advantage those bargaining unit members only needing single coverage, this disadvantages those bargaining unit members needing two-person or family coverage.
We acknowledge and appreciate our member’s varied opinions on this subject. We have received valuable input on this subject in our bargaining surveys, especially from members needing single coverage. While in years past health care premiums costs and our hard cap benefit structure kept employee out-of-pocket costs for single coverage minimal, this is no longer the case. The rising cost of single coverage health plans have out-paced increases to our hard cap amount. Unfortunately, this is the same for our members needing two-party and family coverage who have experienced even greater increases in their out-of-pocket costs during this same time period.
In last year’s negotiation, we successfully decreased the out-of-pocket costs for all bargaining unit members. These improvements were made on the 2017 CalPERS rates, click here to review. These documents highlight the changes in out-of-pocket costs for LTA members from January 1, 2017 to July 1, 2017. Per our collective bargaining agreement, these rates were effective July 1, 2017, so that this school year, every bargaining unit member is paying less in out-of-pocket costs than they were last year. Now, we must address our health and welfare employer/employee cost share amounts for 2018.
Moving forward, it is important to note that while the District has published the employer/employee cost share amounts for 2018, LTA’s rates are still subject to bargaining. While LTA made improvements in our cost share over last year, we are well aware that District administrators continue to enjoy lower out-of-pocket costs despite higher salaries. As we outlined in our communication on September 7, this year LTA will enter into reopener bargaining with the District. In reopener negotiations, Article VII Salary, Article IX Health and Welfare, one article selected by the District, and one article selected by LTA will be addressed at the bargaining table. LTA fully intends to make a proposal at the bargaining table that provides further improvements to our Health and Welfare Benefit.
It is important members take this into consideration if considering changing plans during the open enrollment period. We encourage members considering switching medical plans to compare all plan benefits prior to making a decision. The plan benefit documents for the various plans offered by CalPERS can be reviewed here. This document includes information on the differences in benefits like deductible amounts, hospital coverage, emergency room coverage, physician/office visits, and prescription drug costs.
Should you have any other questions or concerns regarding health and welfare benefits, please feel free to contact LTA at email@example.com.