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The Squeeze of Rising Health Insurance Costs

iStock_000019097837_XXXLargeIt’s that time of year again to choose our health insurance coverage for 2015. And, yes, it’s another year of cost increases that are being passed along to us.

The Gold HRA’s monthly cost, Delta’s best plan, has increased 18 percent for individual coverage and 11 percent for family coverage. Deductibles—the amount of money we pay out of our own pocket before our insurance actually pays—increased by $150 for an individual and $450 for a family. Those are big increases and could completely wipe out our 3-4% pay increase that we will receive on April 1, 2015. Interestingly, our health insurance increases begin on New Years Day. Let’s see how this could happen.

Let’s say your lucky enough to be at the top of the pay scale and you receive the four percent pay increase on April 1, 2015. Let’s also assume you work an average of 80 hours per month. That’s an increase of $1,483.20 for 2015. Reduce that significantly if you're not at top of scale.

Now, let’s say you have a family. Your monthly premium alone reduces your raise by $324 for 2015. That leaves you with $1,159 for 2015 if you never visit a doctor for any reason. 

But what if you or a family member falls ill?

Let’s say during the year your family unfortunately has a few health events and the medical bills total $2,900. Unfortunately, as many of us know, it doesn’t take much to ring up $2,900 in medical expenses. Let's also assume you receive the max HRA dollars and health rewards of $1,600. That means you're on the hook for $1,300. If that happens, a top of scale Delta Flight Attendant actually goes backwards: $1,159-$1,300= -$141. And that’s not even close to being a worse case scenario with the best health insurance coverage Delta Corporate offers.

It would be much worse if you're not at the top of the pay scale, choose lesser coverage, don’t have the max Delta health rewards and rack up higher medical expenses. All this during a time of record profits and industry-leading customer service ratings.

What’s really disturbing is that in every one of Delta Corporate’s “pay comparisons,” benefits are excluded as compensation. That’s wrong. That’s misleading.

The sad fact is, our health benefits are among the worst in the airline industry.

It is also a fact that IAM-represented airline employees have access to better, more affordable health insurance.

With a Voice we will change this. We will negotiate terms of employment that are reflective of our contribution to the industry’s leading airline. We shouldn’t be given industry competitive compensation, we should negotiate industry leading compensation. We deserve that.

And, that’s the REAL STORY.

 

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