Dear Mr. Gaona and Mr. Rubio,
In your emails regarding health benefits questions, you have stated that the possible rate increases to insurance plans are part of negotiations. I find this statement extremely perplexing, as I am sure that the 68% district contribution was decided upon in our last round of bargaining. Because this is our current contract language, I am not sure how a newly calculated rate can be imposed on employee groups prior to negotiations being resolved. Yesterday, Dr. Brand stated to various labor leaders that the imposed rate will go into effect beginning in January 2014; however, we may very well be in negotiations after that. Clearly, a unilateral decision has been made about health care rates and the district’s contribution.
In addition, you mention that health care rates for open enrollment will be made available to us on 10/28. I am sure that you are aware that employee groups are required to select packages prior to open enrollment. Our union leaders have not been given the newly imposed rates. When are we supposed to make our decisions about package options? Will the district also be imposing health care packages on us? It is starting to seem that way.
Finally, we all have questions and concerns about the plans to impose higher rates than those previously negotiated. You have stated we should contact our union leaders with these questions; however, the district has not released the rates they are planning on imposing to any employee group. Thus, our union leaders do not have the answers. Therefore, employee groups should continue to ask questions of your office, HR, Dr. Brand, and the Board. You are the ones who have the answers we need.
Since we are on the subject of questions, I have a few that I hope you will take the time to answer.
- Is the District’s health care plan grandfathered in under the ACA?
- Under the ACA, can my employee health care package be more than 9.5% of my salary?
- As an employee, am I allowed to opt out of District insurance and select my own plan through a health care exchange?
- If, as an employee, I have to use the District insurance, does my family have the ability to use a health care exchange instead of being covered on my plan?
I would appreciate a prompt reply to my questions, as my family and I have major financial and health care related decisions to make in a very short amount of time, as do all employee groups!
SEA Board of Directors
SEA Organizing Chair
PHS Social Science Chair