Postal Support Employees Deserve Better
(This article first appeared in the July-August 2018 issue of The American Postal Worker magazine)
By Health Plan Director John Marcotte
The USPS continues to fall short in its obligation to provide Postal Support Employees (PSEs) health insurance information that is vital to them and their families.
As I wrote in the September/October 2017 issue of The American Postal Worker, PSEs are not being informed upon conversion to regular that their USPS PSE insurance will be cancelled and they have 60 days to choose a FEHB health plan. If these new career employees do not choose a plan within 60 days, they will have no health insurance because the USPS will drop the USPS PSE insurance after conversion. Those PSEs who already have APWUHP Consumer Driven Option (CDO) plans are not being dropped, since APWUHP CDO is a high-performing FEHB plan and the coverage continues.
Now PSEs are suffering under an additional lack of information – or, quite frankly, misinformation – about the PSE health insurance offered by the USPS. I am getting heart-wrenching calls from PSEs who, after being informed that they are no longer eligible for Medicaid or subsidies for the Affordable Care Act insurances, have signed up for the USPS PSE insurance, the only health insurance available to them. Neither their local management nor HR Shared Services informed them of the high cost of getting sick with this insurance. The deductible for the individual is $2,000 and $4,000 for family! This is simply an unaffordable amount for working people to come up with before insurance starts to pay benefits.
Worse yet, some PSEs are being informed that once they signed up for USPS PSE insurance they are not allowed to cancel the insurance, threatening their ability to pay for rent and food. This is only true if PSEs select to pay premiums before tax. If PSEs select this insurance on a pretax basis they cannot cancel this insurance unless it is open season or they have a qualifying life event. We need to make sure our PSE brothers and sisters know this important information.The truth is that the USPS should provide health insurance that is affordable for all its workers and not make employees pay for insurance that isn’t there for them when they get sick or injured.
Please reach out to all our PSE brothers and sisters, and try to get the USPS to provide all the information necessary for them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
New ‘Right to Try’ Law
The President has signed the Right to Try Act, which is effective immediately. This law permits terminally ill patients, under certain conditions, to request drug manufacturers to supply them with investigational drugs that have passed the initial human safety test. The manufacturers are not required to participate. The APWU Health Plan should treat these claims most like we do clinical trials. If you have questions about this or any other APWU Health Plan issue, please contact me at 410-424-1504.
33rd Annual Health Plan
Open Season Seminar
October 26-28, San Antonio, Texas
Registration is now open for the 2018 APWU Health Plan Open Season Seminar, which will take place from Friday, October 26 through Sunday, October 28. This is a unique opportunity
for APWU local union, state organization and retiree chapter to learn about recent changes in health care and how this will affect APWU members.
Online registration is available at www.apwu.org/ events/category/national-events