The protection of your Health and Welfare Trust was an important piece of these contract negotiations. Between this contract and last, implementation the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obama Care, put significant burdens and increased costs on our Health and Welfare Trust Fund. The impacts of the Obama Care could not be anticipated due to the ever changing debate in Washington and unfortunately some of those costs had to be passed on to the members until a new agreement could be reached with the MTA.
During this contract, the impacts of Obama Care and the systematic phase in of the employer mandate are much clearer and your General Committee was able to take that into account when negotiating this contract. There were two priorities we had when it came to Health and Welfare. First was to ensure that there would not be any premium increases to our members during this contract. Second was that we wanted do something to reduce the costs of our doctor visit co-pays. With those two priorities in mind we consulted with health insurance experts to determine how much more money we needed from the MTA to accomplish these tasks.
If you look at your contract packets you will notice the MTA will be contributing an additional 7.47% annually to your Health and Welfare Trust. What the MTA contributes to your Health and Welfare Trust is the only thing that can be negotiated in the contract. After you ratify this contract, those increased contributions that were negotiated by your General Committee, will allow us to negotiate new deals with the health insurance companies that will keep premiums the same and reduce doctor visit co-pays from $35 down to $20. You will see these changes during your next open enrollment in October 2014 where you will be able to select a plan that is best for you and your family. Those new plans and decreased costs will take effect January 1, 2015.
It is our pledge and our promise to you that we will make this happen. We have already started the process of negotiating these deals in anticipation of ratification and we have no hesitation in affixing our signatures as proof of our pledge. United we stand.