Q & A Regarding EUTF Health Care Premiums Effective July 1, 2013
Although the EUTF Open Enrollment period has already begun, it is very difficult to make informed choices regarding health care without knowing the precise costs involved. What percentage of our health care premiums will our employer be assuming?
The rates paid by faculty members will be based on the highest employer contribution for any other public sector bargaining on contracts negotiated after June 1, 2009. Not all of the other bargaining units have completed bargaining for those effective rates on July 1, 2013, therefore, you will not know until those negotiations are completed for all units what your employee contribution will be for the various EUTF options. The negotiations or interest arbitrations may go past July 1, 2013, so there might need to be retroactive adjustments in the premiums charged to bargaining unit 7 faculty members. What you do know is that the rates will be the lowest paid by other public sector workers based on the plan you select.
By the way, the percentages are not helpful, since it depends on which plan premium those percentages are to be applied. HSTA, unfortunately, just tied the premium rates for all EUTF plans to lowest cost HMSA option, the front end deductible 75-25 plan. The HGEA has stated that they will not take that lower employer contribution. The “60% employer” is deceiving, and the HSTA has put the other unions, from police and fire fighters to HGEA civil service, in a difficult position.
As for the premium rates themselves and the coverage options, these subjects are outside of the scope of bargaining under HRS Chapter 89. Obviously, this is an unusual exclusion from collective bargaining, but it has a very long history in the State of Hawaii.
This is the most complete answer you can be given at this time, pending the settlements from the other unions. Again, UHPA’s negotiated “favored nations” clause has protected us from the single misstep by one union, and assures you the most support for your EUTF choice that the legislature authorizes through collective bargaining.