Q: My concern is the TA clause regarding healthcare insurance premiums frozen at the 2019 rates. To my understanding, the clause has no bearing or protection regarding the $1500 the Company gives to the employee Health Savings Account (HSA) to assist with the high deductible plan. So technically the Company could rescind that amount starting in 2019 if this TA passes, and the high deductibles would be completely the responsibility of the employee. The $1500 is not a contractual item. Currently we have protection and a cap on what our premiums can increase each year, which I believe is 20% for 2019. With this TA our premiums would be frozen at the 2019 rate, not our current 2018 rate. If I run the numbers, it would be to my benefit to have my premiums increase even to the max of 20% verses having the Company rescind the $1500 they award to our HSA. Premiums notoriously increase each year and if our premiums are frozen, the Company’s share will increase. With that said, I don’t see the Company still giving money to help with the high deductibles. The Company will have to make up their share of increased premiums somewhere, and rescinding the $1500 would be the obvious as it is not contractual and just out of the goodness of the Company’s heart.
A: The Company contribution to the Health Savings Account (HSA) has historically been and will remain management discretion under the TA. The Company has been providing annual financial incentives to move employees over to the high deductible plan by contributing to the HSA when employees switch to (or, depending on the year, are simply enrolled in) the high deductible plan. The year-on-year cap is 15%, so the 2019 healthcare insurance rates cannot increase more than 15% from 2018 (not 20% as indicated in the question). Additionally, the Flight Attendant cost share cannot be more than 20% of the actual cost to the Company. If management were to eliminate the HSA contribution, it would have to do that for all employees. This in turn would disincent employees from switching to (or remaining on) the high deductible plan, which is the exact opposite of management’s goal to migrate as many employees as possible from the higher cost PPO to the lower cost high deductible plan.