Saying NO to Increased Healthcare Costs!

Greetings Hennepin County Union Workers-

Labor Management Healthcare consensus decision making began June 26 and our Hennepin County Unions are joining together to say NO increases to our healthcare costs!

As part of our bargaining agreements any annual healthcare changes (co-pays, deductibles, etc) are agreed upon by a consensus decision of the Labor Management Health Care Committee (LMHCC). This is a consensus process between all Hennepin County Unions and Management and is separate from contract negotiations. Premiums will not be debated as they are part of our contract.

In the past we have failed to bring our joint power to the table. Two years ago, we saw major increases to our healthcare costs: involving the introduction of deductibles to all advantage plans other than HCMC/North Memorial, and increases in out-of-pocket maximums. These increases have hit our members hard. We cannot afford more increases and the numbers and our unity are in our favor.

Our plan has almost 55 million dollars in reserves as of April this year, up 71% since the plan began in 2011. According to the plan’s financial advisor, the reserves are in excellent health.

In 2018 alone the plan generated $845,670.00 in interest. This money, however, does not return to our plan to help cover our healthcare costs, but is instead diverted to the County’s General Fund to be used as the County pleases. There is no law prohibiting the transfer of this money from the General Fund back to our plan. It’s our money and it should be used to pay for our healthcare.

While workers are struggling to meet deductibles and pharmacy co-pays, hundreds of thousands of dollars are going to outside consulting firms like Redbrick. In the past four years the County has increased consulting fees with outside health and wellness vendors by 83% despite the fact that less than half the members of the plan actually use these programs. In 2018 the County spent $406,126.47 on its contract with Redbrick alone!

We need excellent, affordable healthcare. Our insurance plan is in excellent financial health. Our unions are standing together to say no increases, and give the interest from our plan back to our plan!

In solidarity,

The HC AFSCME Policy Committee,
Representing AFSCME Locals 34, 552, 1719, 2822, 2864, and 2938