From the Desk of the President (October, 2010)
Hennepin County Self
Insurance: What will this mean to you?
Hopefully, you all took the time to read the e-mail from County
Administrator Richard Johnson, sent on September 10, 2010.
This is a brief synopsis that I crafted based on questions from members
following that e-mail:
There are two distinct parts to Richard
The first part pertains to self insurance
effective 1/1/2011. Wes Volkenant,
Vicki Moore and I have all written about self insurance in our newsletter
articles over the past several years so this should not be something new to
people. We, along with our Business
Representative, Matt Nelson, have provided updates on the process at the monthly
General Assembly meetings. The four
of us, along with Doyle Juenke, another of our Local 34 members, represent our
local on the Labor/Management HealthCare Committee and were involved in a good
part of the discussions regarding the pros and cons of switching from fully
-funded insurance to self-insurance and what the ramifications of that change
second part pertains to the selection of a Third Party Administrator (TPA) for
self insurance. The union folks
received information about the proposals put forward by the groups who wanted to
be the TPA for the county's self insurance program.
However, we were not part of the decision making group as that falls in
the Employer's purview.
Their recommendation was presented to the
County Board, the Commissioners were briefed on all the reasons for making the
choice, and the Board voted to go with the final recommendation of Preferred One
to administer the plan.
You should note that County Board is the body
with the authority to make the final decision on both the switch to self
insurance and which firm would be the TPA.
As noted in Richard Johnson's e-mail, the
current benefits are not going to change with the switch to self-insurance.
Whatever we have now, will be what we have next year.
It will then be up to our Table Team to work out on-going benefit sets
during negotiations in 2011 for our new contract for 2012 and beyond.
One positive thing about self-insurance is
that we an opportunity to have a much stronger voice in negotiations to look at
what the benefits set will be - perhaps design something that more accurately
reflects what we need, instead of
the cookie cutter choices currently available to us and have input in how the
wellness programs are structured.
The Presidents of the six AFSCME locals meet
with County Administrator Johnson on a monthly basis.
At our last meeting, we suggested that he consider dedicating his next
round of brown bag lunches to the topic of self-insurance so that employees have
an opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns.
He stated he would add that to his list of topics.
Also, he let us know that they do not plan to increase the monthly
premium for 2011 insurance. This
means that, per the terms of our contract, there will be no increase in the
employee's contribution for family coverage.
Rafe Viscasillas, Director for Human
Resources, noted that they will be adding a section on the Benefits intranet
site with FAQ's (frequently asked questions) and the answers to those questions
for self insurance.
I hope that answers some of the questions
that you have. Please let me know if
you have others.
And speaking of
health insurance, have you watched the on-line video,
“Health Works!” yet? Watching
the video is part of the process to earn the $15.00 discount on 2011 office
visit co-pays. It can be found at: http://hennepinmn.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=143. All
employees and their spouses, if covered by the county's insurance plan, are
required to watch the video, as well as completing the health assessment in
order to be eligible for the reduced co-pays.
A notice about the health assessment should be sent out sometime around
the beginning of October. You will
have until October 31st to complete the assessment and watch the video.
Please consider doing both as soon as possible to avoid that pesky last
minute rush to get it done.
Phone Banks -
please note that Local 34 has designated
Thursday, October 14th, as our Local 34 phone bank night.
We are going to do this one at the Council 5 location instead of the
Minneapolis site due to logistics and staff availability for that evening.
Car-pooling from Minneapolis to the Council office might be an option if
you do not want to make the drive yourself.
Also, AFSCME Council 5 continues to hold phone banks every Tuesday and
Thursday evening up to the November 2nd election.
The Tuesday phone banks are held at the Council 5 office, 300 Hardman Ave
S, South St Paul, starting at 5:30 PM. The
Thursday phone banks are held at the Labor Center, 312 Central Ave SE,
Minneapolis, usually on the 2nd floor, starting at 5:30 PM.
You can call Tigger Lunney at 651-238-6324, to let him know when you can
do some calling in support of our endorsed candidates.
He will also have information about door knocks and getting locations for
lawn signs. As always, if you have a
favorite candidate and want to spend your efforts supporting that person but
don't know how to do so, let me know and I will help you find out how to reach
that particular campaign.
Fall is upon us - already.
Pretty soon we will be raking leaves and getting ready for Halloween.
Have a wonderful October - take some time to enjoy the changing colors of
the leaves against that lovely blue sky we only see at this time of the year.