Department & Division News

2017 Open Season Seminar

(This article first appeared in the March-April 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine.)

By Health Plan Director John Marcotte

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Health Plan is pleased to announce that the 2017 Open Season Seminar will be held in beautiful downtown St. Louis, MO. St. Louis was the location of the first APWU Health Plan Seminar and we are thrilled to be coming back to the “Gateway to the West.”

Union owned and made up of a union work force, the APWU Health Plan benefits us all by having a positive impact on the lives of our membership and their families. As health insurance premiums take a larger and larger portion of our members’ paychecks, understanding how health insurance works, the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) Program, the role Office of Personnel Management (OPM) plays and the details of our affordable health plans is critical for APWU local, state and retiree leadership. The APWU Open Season Seminar is not just for Health Plan Representatives. We welcome everyone. 

The seminar is two days of instruction with basic and advanced tracks. The advanced track has new courses to provide continuing education. The basic course will provide a sound foundation for understanding federal health care. If you are in an APWU leadership position, understanding FEHB Program and APWU health plans has never been more important. I urge all of you to attend this year’s seminar.

Centrally located, St. Louis offers a wonderful setting to build solidarity with your fellow union leaders. For those who are wondering, the date that OPM allows us to release the 2018 information for health plans made it impossible to have the APWU Health Plan Seminar adjoining this year’s All Craft Conference.

Reaching Out to PSEs

The APWU Health Plan is mailing packets of information out to PSEs as they get reappointed after a 365-day term. That is when PSE’s become eligible for APWU Consumer Driven Option health insurance, with the USPS paying 75 percent of the premium. The APWU negotiating health insurance for temporary workers at the same cost as career federal employees was a game changer, and shows the strength of APWU solidarity.

Together with our locals and states, this mailing is an opportunity to reinforce to our PSE members the benefit of membership, and to the non-members, it is a great reason to join the APWU family. Eligible PSEs have 60 days from the time of their reappointment to enroll in the APWU Consumer Driven Option. In order to give these PSEs more time to take advantage of this union provided benefit, we are now mailing directly to the PSEs. Our staff is working to provide local leadership secure access to a list of the PSEs receiving the mailing and look forward to rolling that out soon.