It’s getting down to the wire of how providers of healthcare plans about how the cost of delivering benefits will be cut with the impending Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) provision that will go into effect on January 1.
And the trucking industry is experiencing plenty of issues in the face of the Obamacare changes.
The critical concerns affecting both plan providers and beneficiaries has been illustrated by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the United Parcel Service (UPS).
While members of the IBT had previously accepted a national master agreement with the UPS in June, the healthcare benefits were considered too poor by workers in the UPS freight division that it was voted down. In rejecting the deal, the workers negated the proposed five-year contract along with 17 local supplemental agreements and riders.
The IBT members said the rejection was because of a provision that would have switched 140,000 employees from a UPS-sponsored health insurance plan over to one that would have been conjointly managed by the company and the union, according to a report by the Associated Press (AP).
Critics of the previously proposed plan claimed that employees would be receiving inferior benefits while paying higher deductibles and co-payments than the existing UPS plan. However, the union said the change was in response to a UPS proposal to cut health benefits.
The IBT has since laid out changes to the healthcare plan and will conduct re-voting of the seven rejected supplements and riders this month.
These issues are affecting companies and employees all over the country, and UPS is looking for even more ways to cut back health insurance costs.
The company recently issued a memo to employees that it will no longer provide spousal healthcare benefits to any spouse of a UPS employee who has a job and is eligible for coverage from that employer.
The change would take effect in January and would affect roughly 15,000 spouses who have health care coverage available through their own employers.
UPS said it had considered implementing a premium increase to cover spouses, but instead chose to limit eligibility as a way to manage the company’s ongoing healthcare costs.
The company also noted that the decision was influenced by bearing in mind what other firms were doing and said it found that 35 percent of those companies that were researched plan to exclude working spouses that are eligible for their own employer’s coverage in 2014.