Q: Since medical premiums will be frozen, does this include our actual medical plan/benefits? Or can they give us inferior plans to keep the current cost?
A: Section 23.A [Insurance Benefits: FA Insurance Plan(s)] states: “The Flight Attendants’ insurance plan will be separated from the Company-wide plan and will provide benefits comparable to those offered under the Alaska Airlines pilot’s pilots’ insurance program.“
Although not obvious from the language, the long standing interpretation and application of “comparable benefits” is that management provides Flight Attendants with the same insurance benefits as the pilots. The provisions of the pilots’ insurance benefits are cemented contractually in their CBA and cannot be changed by management. Management provides the same exact same benefit to the FAs because it is too administratively burdensome to develop a contractually compliant “comparable” program that is not exactly the same.
Under the JCBA, the Flight Attendant premiums will be frozen at the 2019 exact dollar rates. The provisions of the medical insurance plans will remain those outlined in the pilots’ CBA.