An independent journal about the Gannett Co. and the news industry's digital transition
Something is up with this new healthcare plan. I'm surprised more people aren't talking about it.
Care to clarify what you mean, 5:48?
What the hell!! I'm in Phoenix, where they told us our health insurance would go up "nominally" to bring us "in line" with the rest of Gannett. My health insurance went up by 50% - for single coverage. 50% is "nominal"? On what planet is 50% "nominal"?
That would be Planet Gannett. They'll say anything, make up any excuse or logic to get what they want.
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Also on healthcare: we had to take a risk assessment/physical by Sept. 30 to avoid a surcharge in 2012. I took my physical weeks before deadline. Now, they're switching providers for 2012 and current provider hasn't reported my physical to new provider as of today. I'm betting I wind up having to pay the surcharge for several paychecks.
@7:45 - please share what your single coverage in Phoenix is.
Can we organize an "Occupy Gannett" demonstration at the swanky Virginia headquarters we all paid for with cuts in our salary, benefits and worse? Seems to me that Gannett and USA Today are the media poster children of what everyone is rightfully complaining about relating to corporate greed and decadence. I know the news media rarely speaks ill of itself, but it would be nice for some outside news organization to shine a little light on something else other than the Rupert Murdoch fiasco, and examine how Gannett has done business in recent years that led to thousands of layoffs that weren't really layoffs. They were firings for reasons so unfair that it should be criminal.
Occupy Gannett will be dealt with accordingly:1. A task force to assess things.2. Meetings to discuss an outside consultant to deal with the matter.3. Focus groups.4. A memo to the troops that acknowledges 1st Amendment rights but promises all participants are in for a s---storm of retribution.5. A vice president to assist Roxanne horning.
You guys will organize nothing. You will continue to post anonymous barbs here, nothing more.Also, 9:49, you might want to read that First Amendment again.
I could see there being some lag in recording people that had a doctor's visit rather than the online assessment.But for the people who took the online assessment? It's frickin ONLINE. Once a week some monkey downloads the spreadsheet from the website and emails it to some other monkey that uploads it to another website and bam, we're up to date.For the chimp that's saying 'it's not that simple'? It should have been. It should have been designed to be hands off. And if it wasn't, hell and high water should have been moved so that it was AT LEAST up to date the day before enrollment opened.
9:19 and 4:01 -- if you didn't know that happens routinely with health-care issues, then you haven't been paying attention.As always, people at Gannett Blog don't understand how benefits work. They don't know where the flaws lie.
7:38 - it was an internal Gannett initiative, run against one set of names/passwords/SSN's versus another set of the same. You learn primary and foreign keys in the first week of Database Management 101. The failure has nothing to do with it being a health care issue, it has everything to do with poor planning and execution.
It's a free country ,as far as I know.Why complain.The layoffs will continue.Gannett will not change it's greedy pollicies.Leave already!Stop bitchin and complaining and moaning,just freaken LEAVE!
Not sure what people like 8:13 are doing here. The blog is to educate people about issues within the company. Many of those issues are negative, so the appearance is that many of the people are negative. But we are hear to learn.If the complaining bothers you, why would you be here? Why would you complain about people complaining?Lastly, many of us would leave ... if there were jobs out there that would allow us to continue to support our families. Then, of course, there is the healthcare issue.In other words, maybe you should "just freaken LEAVE!"
PHOENIX HEALTH CARE COST: SINGLE $43.38 OR $28.62 WITH SPOUSE $114.92 OR 76.62. SINGLE PLUS KIDS 102.92 OR 68.77, FAMILY 151.85 OR 101.54. FIRST # PPO 2ND # HIGH DEDUCTABLE.LETS HEAR AND COMPARE OTHER SITES.NOTE:SOMEONE FINALLY GOT AROUND TO HITTING ENTER BUTTON TO DO AWAY WITH HEALTH SURCHARGE BUT NOT BEFORE GETTING A LOT OF PEOPLE REALLY UP SET WHO TOOK ONLINE SURVEY OR TURNED IN EXAM. PAPER WORK.
YELLING LOUDLY MY EARS AND EYES AHHHHPlease 9:31am, learn some proper Internet etiquette.
Too bad you can't leave yet- don't mean to brag but. NOT being employed with GANNETT is the best thing that could ever happen--I just didnt know it cuz I got caught up in the mix.LOVE LIFE AGAIN!!!!!!NOT COMPLAINING!
Jim: Would you look into the company paperwork to see if Gannett is making money off its employees on the health care? I have several children, but still, I can't be costing them what they're charging me. I'm convinced we've become a cash cow for the company. No matter how committed you are as a journalist, no matter how well you do your job, it's becoming crystal clear that the only message is: "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."
I have never seen this topic discussed but..Morning papers, not just Gannett papers, are heavily dependent on undocumented workers to make their deliveries. Because they are contract workers it is a natural haven for undocumented workers, along with the crappy pay and horrible hours. Families often spell each other so they can get days off etc. I wonder if they are employees of distribution sites out there who can speak to this issue.
A funny memory from one of my last Operating Committee meetings - the VP of HR reminded the team at the table that it was registration time for health care benefits and that we shouldn't forget to renew our coverage selections. Why is it funny? A quick pole of the thirteen folks sitting in the OC meeting including the publisher were ALL on the benefit plans of their spouse.
Regarding previous posts about the Health Assessment Survey and subsequent Healthy Actions Surcharge:I took the survey, like many people, before the deadline in order to avoid the $480-per-year surcharge our provider had threatened. However, when our annual open enrollment period began, I was dismayed to find that the surcharge still showed up on my account. I immediately called the Gannett Benefits Center and was told that this was a "technical problem" that had to do with changing providers from Anthem to United Healthcare. She added that many people (she estimated 97 percent of callers) were complaining about this issue. She explained that in order to have this taken care of, she would have to notify her supervisor, who would then "investigate the matter" and verify that I had completed the survey. Then the charge would be removed. She estimated it would take about 5 days. Well, I checked my account again about an hour later, and the charge had already been removed. Initially was relieved that I wouldn't have to take this any further. Phew, just saved myself almost $500 a year, celebrations all around, right? Well, not if you know anything about health care in this country. It's obvious they tried to sneak this charge in with the hope that SOME people wouldn't notice. Why else would it have taken such a short time to "investigate"?So please, everyone go onto your benefits page and check to see if you've gotten this charge. If you have had a physical within the past year OR you took this Health Assessment Survey before the Sept. 30 deadline, you should NOT have this charge. If you do, immediately call the Gannett Benefits Center and tell them you were charged erroneously. The number I was given is 877-865-8980. It may seem like pennies, but it adds up. Take care of this before enrollment ends (in our case it's Nov. 18, so you have 11 days from today). Don't let them succeed in their scam. Thanks for listening.
I am a former employee of the courierpost in NJ and so glad to be out of that terrible newspaper and Gannett. Having worked in the sales end of the place I got sick of the incompetence and coddling of such s group of complete losers. The worst of the lot remains there doing next to nothing, especially the ones in supervisory jobs and above. Came back to this blog to see if things are the same and they are. Also confirmed by some unfortunate former colleagues who are sticking it out only for their personal benefit because they don't give a crap about the place.
10:45 I'm quite certain that Gannett does not make money off employee health care.In April 2010, I looked into the company's employee medical costs, and here's what I found, based on the latest figures available at the time:First, keep in mind that GCI is self-insured. That means it pays all the employee medical costs not covered by the monthly premiums employees paid.In 2008, GCI spent $172.2 million on employee medical care. It collected $70 million from employees in premiums. So, that year, the company spent a bit over $102 million on employee care. That, of course, is not a profit. But it's not a loss, either: It's a cost of doing business. If our health care system was like those in much of the developed world, employers would not be in the business of paying for health care.But under our system, your medical costs are part of your annual pay.(BTW: Although these figures are from 2008, I'm certain that they ratios would be more or less the same today: i.e. GCI would still be paying most employee costs.)While you, 10:45, may spend more on premiums that you think your family is receiving in medical care, bear in mind that:1. You may not know how very much your doctor/HMO/PPO is charging GCI.2. Other employees may have extraordinary health costs -- say, for major surgery -- that other employees effectively pay for through GCI's pooled risk.I am among many ex-employees who discovered how much our health costs were subsidized by GCI when I left the company. In 2008, my monthly premium went from $150 as an employee to $400 under COBRA. That was just for me.And since then, it's nearly doubled to $800 monthly -- for substantially the same coverage.No matter how you look at it, medical care in the United States is crazy expensive -- and only getting more so. It's eating our economy from the inside out.
RE: 11:09 . . . are you writing from Phoenix? Because I can tell you in certain DCs that in previous years "carriers" would often sell "driver's licenses" OPENLY. Unfortunately, the sellers seemed unfamiliar with the 12-month, 31 days max-in-a-month calendar in use north of the border. So you might see a license with a birthdate on the 34th day of the 13th month. As for insurance costs, 10:45, go online and search for a plan with similar benefits to what you're getting now. I guarantee you're only paying 25-40% of the actual cost. Gannett may be stiffing people in many other ways, but health insurance ain't cheap.
The stupidity of the people here is amazing. Someone seriously thinks the company is running a profit with a health-care scam?
Re health insurance: I know of at least one gannett employee who has signed up her housemate as her domestic partner. This person has significant health problems and runs up some considerable bills. The gannetteer brags that this is her way of sticking it to the company.
Regarding the drivers who deliver the paper, they have to have a valid drivers's license and proof of insurance, kinda hard to obtain if you an illegal...
10:09 I agree totally.
Sure makes an employee want to give their all 40+ hrs to witness pay cuts furlos and no raises while execs and upper mgmt are excessively compensated each year. here's a cost cutting idea- reconsider the ridiculous bonus plans! hard working non mgmt employees are worthy of an equitable raise or at best back off raising our healthcare costs every year. im sure its everywhere but still outrageously discouraging that employee hard work results in management bonuses. sometimes thank yous just aren't enough
11:09...I can tell you at Florida Today that is NOT the case. The help inside might be another story but we find..."undocumented workers" as you describe them...cannot do the job, never mind if they would or not. What is your basis for that statement I wonder.
I can tell you that I am paying $425 monthly for single coverage COBRA. I haven't heard what the increase will be for Jan (and this is for medical, dental and vision). If all works well, I'll move to this company's full time employment and won't have to deal with COBRA again.
3:15 I see just the opposite of your remark. They do MORE work that is it is their job!
Member of the USAT founding team has died:http://apple.copydesk.org/2011/11/08/philadelphia-daily-news-john-sherlock-passes-away/
So pissed right now. Went to do open enrollment and I'm being charged a Wellness fee for not completing the survey on time. $20 per paycheck. The letter we all received from Roxanne Horning said to complete by year end."And don’t forget – to avoid the wellness surcharge in 2012, be sure to complete the HealthyActions requirements by year-end. See the attached 2012 Annual Enrollment News for details."
Same problem as 4:41 here. Received email that we had until dec. 1st. Checked my account: wellness surcharge. Took my survey two weeks ago. People at gannett benefits phone line couldn't tell me what would happen with my deductions out of my paycheck. Great.
9:19 here. Checked the Website again. Surcharge is still on my enrollment, with no "change" button available.
Is it even legal to charge such an outrageous amount to an employee, as punishment, for not finishing a survey on time, or taking one at all? I've never heard of such a thing. I'm going to check with an attorney and let you know what I find out.
I also had the surcharge applied to my healthcare and I had a physical before the deadline. I spoke to two separate people and they said it would not be resolved until Nov. 30 after the deadline for enrollment. I asked if they could send me and email, a fax or letter, stating this issue would be resolved and they said no. They cannot email anything to anyone and that they do not have extensions so you can contact them. I told them if the surcharge was not removed I would contact legal counsel and make sure someone paid for this mistake. This is ridiculous. This type of thing should of been handled immediately PRIOR to enrollment. So what they are telling me is that I have to lie on my health enrollment and say that I accept the $18.36 surcharge, for which I should not of been charged because I followed protocol and had my physical prior to the deadline. This sounds like a class action law suit if this is not resolved immediately.
My question is, is it even legal to force an employee to have a physical or take an assessment online and if they don't charge them double what they are currently paying for health insurance.Does anyone know if this is legal? Can they do this?
I really don't think this sounds legal. My supervisors told me I had until December 1st. I did mine on November 2nd. In open enrollment it showed a healthy action surcharge: $18.46. When I call, I'm told I had to finish the assessment before September 30th. How can I be charged a surcharge for something I wasn't aware of and didn't authorize? I have never known of a company to charge a fee for not doing a survey. What if I didn't have the internet? This REALLY does not seem legal.When I called the united health care customer service about this survey, they had NO idea what I was talking about. They said that my employee benefits would be in charge of that. My employee benefits told me to talk to united about it. I got back on the Gannett Benefits website and chatted to a representative. What "Sandy" told me was that anyone who didn't do the survey before the end of September will be charged the extra fees for the first quarter, and then they would refund afterward but not until the end of march.
Workplaces can require a physical. There might be some loopholes or a state that restricts it, but otherwise it's allowed.People here are really ignorant about benefits and how they work. Try to get some facts before rushing to conclusions.
That's all well and good when you are notified but when you aren't, it's frustrating. My whole office is bewildered to say the least
Jim any thoughts on investigating this health care survey and the surcharge threat? Seems like this would be a HIPPA violation at the very least.
Much thanks Jim for answering question and determining that the company is not using healthcare as a cash cow. I'm relieved to know. I do note that, just like the poster who talked about the OC meeting, few employees of a certain age and family status have Gannett coverage. The numbers make it very hard to continue.
6:57, why don't you look into it? You have to be about the fourth person in the last day asking for Jim to spoonfeed you the details.
6:57 My first thought is that I don't know where I would start investigating this.My second thought: Gannett is not required to offer medical coverage to its employees.Third thought: So long as it offers coverage fairly -- i.e., to all employees regardless of gender, race, etc. -- and based on a uniform set of rules, I can't see how Gannett can be accused of wrongdoing in requiring a physical or, in lieu of that, asking employees to complete an online survey.
I wish people here would figure out how benefits work. Whenever one of these issues comes up, there is about a 20-to-1 ratio of useless comments to useful comments.
Now it's 21-1, 7:59.
7:59 And I wish Corporate would figure out how to benefits work. It's very much a two-way street.
Folks look at this surcharge another way. No one is forcing you to take a physical or fill out a survey. If you chose not to do either you pay one rate. If you comply you get a discounted rate. Try buying life insurance. If you are young, slim and have good cholesterol you pay one rate. If your are over 40, fat and have high cholesterol you pay a higher rate. No one us forcing you to do anything. Don't do it and pay a higher rate, problem solved.
9:05 -- 22-2. You sold yourself short.Jim, it's not a two-way street here. The people who post don't understand how they work, and they show that lack of understanding all the time. Your game of "Corporate is worse" has nothing to do with that issue.10:06, they don't get it. Or if they do, they want to make it a Gannett-level conspiracy. That's because they don't understand how benefits work. Age plays into the equation. They don't know that.
10:43 Show me where I said "Corporate is worse."
At 9:57. And because this is just another of your attempts to divert from the point ...People who post here don't understand how benefits work.
11:41 - if people who post here don't know how their Gannett benefits work, it's because of a failure on the part of H.R. to explain clearly, concisely, and consistently what they need to know.Placing the blame on pressmen, ad traffickers, sports reporters and salespeople for not understanding the confusing, conflicted, and (lets face it) frequently incorrect information is wrong.We didn't hire Joe Salesguy because he could understand benefits or divine out the truth from contradictory notices from our "business partners" in H.R.Rather than continually throwing up the mantra that 'people here don't know how benefits work' - try explaining how a program that was announced a YEAR ago (regarding assessment/physical vs. cost increase) caused problems during this enrollment period.I don't need to know anything about benefits to determine that a deadline was not met - and that's a management problem, no matter which department it comes out of.
Nice try, 5:53, but many people here don't know how COBRA works, and that is a federal program.
Pointing out a similar communications and management failure by the federal government hardly bolsters the argument.
So 5:53 you have no responsibility to educate yourself about your own benefits? You are content going through life dependent on someone else to tell you what you need to know about your own welfare? Sorry but that is a weak and sad way to go through life.
I don't think the issue is understanding benefits as much as it is being legal to charge a fee for not completing a survey. That's ludicrous.
Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."
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