Keeping Quality Healthcare Affordable For You

Published: Nov 20 2017 10:05AM



Keeping quality healthcare affordable for the members is hard.  You have to be willing to consider all options that can lower costs for members, preserve benefits and provide economic savings that will provide the basis for a satisfactory deal with the Railroads.  The 357 Plan proposed by BMWED and SMART-Mechanical does that.

In 2018, under the current Plan, the “average” railroader will pay $351 for healthcare each month.  That figure is the sum of the monthly cost-sharing premium and the “average” monthly cost of co-payments, deductibles and co-insurance.  If you apply the 357 Plan to 2018, that cost drops, while the CBG Tentative Agreement makes it rise.

In 2018, the total monthly premium will be $1788.  Under the 357 Plan, the monthly cost-sharing doesn’t change.  However, the benefit improvements in prescription drug copays, dental, vision and life insurance proposed under the 357 Plan will save the “average” railroader $45 a month, lowering the average monthly cost to $306.  Additionally, the railroads will save $164 a month through lower payments to doctors, hospitals and pharmacies, and the fact that more employees will be in managed care than are today.

On the other hand, the CBG Tentative Agreement increases the employee’s monthly cost to $411 because of higher co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance. This is $60 more a month than you would pay under the current Plan.  Significantly, that tentative agreement only saves the railroads $92 a month or $27 less than our proposal.

The impact from the 357 Plan expands in 2019.  Because of the savings generated, the monthly premium is projected to drop to $1733.  The monthly cost for an employee increases $2 to $308 due to medical inflation.  The CBG tentative premium is projected to increase to $1870 and the railroader’s monthly cost rises another $10 per month to $421 due to increased deductibles, co-insurance and medical inflation.

The 357 Plan uses simple competition between insurance providers to get the best deal for the employees and the Railroads.  This isn’t some novel idea.  The AMPLAN insurance for rank and file Amtrak employees, which has benefits that are similar to and sometimes better than the National Plan, is put out for bid every 5 years.  Five years ago that plan switched from UnitedHealthcare to Aetna and is projected to save that plan $50 million over the next 3 years with no change in benefits, no increases in co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance.

The 357 Plan -- saves you money, saves the Railroads money, and lowers premiums.