UPTE-CWA E-Bulletin: October 30, 2015
Benefits: Open Enrollment at UC  
Everyone should carefully review not only the costs of the health plans, but also what services are covered and what health care providers participate. Each one of us has our own needs and resources.

With this important consideration, here are some observations about next year’s benefits plans.

(1) UC continues to price its own plan, UC Care, out of favor.  Monthly premiums for all other plans essentially stayed the same, except for UC Care, which increased by $18 to $53 per month (depending on what pay band you are in). While UPTE would like to encourage our members to use UC’s plan, these continued cost increases present a major obstacle when many of us live month-to-month from our paychecks. Unless you really need a provider that does not participate in Health Net, you will probably not want to choose UC Care.

(2) UC executives once again have burdened the lowest paid employees with the largest percent increase in health premiums. Most employees making less than $52,000 will see a 15% increase, while those making more than $152,000 will see a 2% increase. If UC wanted to be fair, salary pay increases should match those health premium increases! Some years ago, UC setup a system to have higher paid employees pay more, but grossly disproportionate increases year-after-year have eroded this progressive fee system.

(3) UPTE recommends that in most cases employees avoid the Blue Shield Health Savings Plan. This plan works great until you get sick or have chronic health problems – which is exactly what a health insurance plan is supposed to address. Unless you are absolutely positive that you and your dependents will not get sick or have any kind of accident, this plan is a bad choice.

(4) Retirees have once again been hit with the largest premium increases if you are not yet 65 years old. UC continues to economically force employees to put off retirement until 65. Some workers with physically demanding jobs, or those who started at UC in their early 20’s either need or want to retire but cannot afford to because these increases. Particularly employees laid off in late career pay a heavy price for these increases, often having to go back on the job market when they thought they could retire. Click here for the enrollment website for retirees.

New Film on Community College Faculty – the “Freeway Fliers”
UPTE-CWA has 1,500 members who teach as adjunct faculty at California’s community colleges. They are often called “freeway fliers” since they must commute between multiple colleges to cobble together a full-time job. These professors make about one third of what tenured faculty get paid, even though they teach about 75% of America’s college students. They do not get paid for office hours (they don’t even have an office), have no health benefits or pension, and more!

Several UPTE members participated in a new insightful documentary, Freeway Fliers by Bradley Rettele, which details this exploitation and how it harms the hundreds of thousands of students these faculty teach in California.

The UPTE E-Bulletin is prepared by UPTE-CWA President Jelger Kalmijn. If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to write him at president@upte-cwa.org.