June 15, 2016

Health Insurance Premiums Could Rise Suddenly; Higher Rates May be Charged Retroactively

THE POSSIBILITY of drastic changes to healthcare insurance plans, including a sudden rise in the cost of premiums and retroactive higher premiums, could occur as a result of Governor Bruce Rauner’s negotiations with the union that represents State employees, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The plans and prices that Rauner and AFSCME agree on will affect University of Illinois employees and their families, because they receive their insurance through the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).

“THE GOVERNOR’S current proposals either significantly increase costs or significantly decrease plan quality,” said Janet Smith, President of UIC United Faculty.

IN AN April 4 memo from CMS, Michael M. Hoffman, Acting Director of CMS, wrote, “…we will be suspending the roll-out of new premium rates and plan designs until early Fall” when, “…a second Benefit Choice Period with new plans and rates would then take place…”

IN ANOTHER recent memo from CMS, it “unbelievably says that when the new plans go into effect, we will be retroactively charged an unknown amount based on the plans we chose,” Smith said.

THAT MEMO says, “Personnel should be aware that these premiums may be subject to an increase, pending the outcome of an ongoing legal dispute between the State and AFSCME and that this premium increase may be applied retroactively to July 1, 2016. In other words, once the legal dispute is resolved, a higher premium likely will apply—not only going forward, but also for the period from July 1, 2016, to the date of the increase.”

APAC, THE UIC United Faculty, the University Senate, and the Staff Advisory Council worked with President Timothy Killeen, and the result was a University Task Force that will make recommendations to the President on how to proceed.

UIC UNITED Faculty is working with an attorney who “believes that the Governor’s proposed changes violate the State Employees Group Insurance Act and Illinois Labor Law,” Smith said. “If we are asked to pay for our healthcare retroactively, we will take the issue to court.”

FOR MORE information, email uicunitedfaculty@gmail.com.

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