Monday, September 23, 2013

GCI discloses big shift in employee medical plans

This morning, CEO Gracia Martore notified employees of a big change coming to the company's health care benefits next year, which cover up to 31,000 employees. In a letter (text, below), she ties the changes to the Health Care Reform act commonly called Obamacare. It goes into effect Oct. 1, when consumers can start enrolling in new plans offered under the law.

Martore says Gannett will offer one plan it calls the Consumer Choice Health Plan (CCHP), which she says will "offer comprehensive health care benefits and other important services to you and your family."

(I am assuming Gannett's is not the nearly identically named Consumer's Choice Health Plan, which calls itself a "member-governed, health insurance co-op for South Carolina citizens.")

Martore doesn't offer any specific details, including especially costs to employees, so it's impossible to evaluate the significance of the change. She says more information will come starting today and in the weeks ahead.

Who really pays
I obtained a copy of her letter from an employee. Because it's addressed to current employees, I don't know whether similar changes are coming to retiree medical plans.

Gannett is self-insured, which means it pays 100% of all employee medical costs that aren't covered by monthly premiums, co-pays and other deductibles paid directly by employees.

At one time, GCI's share was about 2/3 of all such costs, with employees picking up the rest. I don't know whether that's still true. The annual cost to the company runs into the many multimillions of dollars. That's one reason why Gannett has been laying off or occasionally buying out so many older workers over the past five years: their medical costs are just too high.

Most other employers also are burdened with high employee health care costs, and have been for many years. And some have been using Obamacare as cover to make changes they've wanted for a long time. It will be interesting to see whether Corporate is one of those employers.

Text of letter
Dear Gannett Employee:

The implementation of Health Care Reform will bring significant changes to the health care industry and to health insurance plans. As a result, Gannett, like many other employers across the nation, has spent months evaluating different health care plan options.

In 2014, Gannett will offer one health care plan called Consumer Choice Health Plan (CCHP), which will offer comprehensive health care benefits and other important services to you and your family. Our annual enrollment period this fall will be held Nov. 4 to Nov. 15.

Martore
Many more details will be coming your way in the days and weeks to come. I encourage you to attend one or more of the employee information webinars being held by our Human Resources department every day, Monday through Friday, starting Sept. 24 and running until Nov. 1. In these webinars, you will get a full overview of Gannett’s plan and have the opportunity to ask questions.

Your HR representative will be contacting you about these webinars and in many locations there will be in-person meetings. You should receive your Consumer Choice Health Plan (CCHP) enrollment kit around the first of November.

To further help you and your family get the most out of the plan and have all of the information you need to make informed decisions, we will provide helpful resources such as United Healthcare’s myuhc.com, Gannett’s Benefits website and a mobile app through United HealthCare called “Health4Me,” which will show employees nearby providers, track claims, highlight doctor ratings and more. For more information about Health Care Reform and the Affordable Care Act, go to ALEX, a virtual benefits counselor, on Gannett’s Benefits website.

Best regards,

Gracia

32 comments:

  1. Letters like this are seldom followed by good news.

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  2. Many companies have announced they are getting rid of their plans and moving folks to the insurance pools. I'm glad we still have insurance. Tell folks what you pay Jim. You've shared the info before.

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    2. I pay nearly $900 a month -- and that's just to cover myself -- for the same coverage with the same provider that I had when I left Gannett in January 2008. That's with a $1,500 annual deductible, too.

      My monthly cost when I was with Gannett for that coverage: $150 or so. But, as I said, that was five years ago.

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    3. Your deductable is too low. You would save a significant amount by going to a $6050 deductable.

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    4. My provider, Kaiser, wouldn't sell me a high deductible plan. Didn't give a reason but I suspect it was pre-existing conditions.

      But with Obamacare, they now won't have a choice.

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  3. Isn't it just like Gannett to offer ONE health plan, and it has "choice" in the title?

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  4. "Best regards?" Come in, Gracua... Kiss me when you fcuk me....

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  5. The much higher rates are going to be really hard for many to handle.

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  6. phx pressmen's union will be really happy now, cut their wages and then raise the insurance cost.

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  7. 60% increase coming faster than getting banged by a tranny in Miami.

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  8. Folks, every decision Gannett now makes can be viewed through the prism of it being in we're-winding-down-operations-in-the-most-lucrative-way-possible mode. At this point, I am shocked that they haven't found some justification to move most, if not all, employees to 1099 (independent contractor) status to eliminate tax liability. If you choose to stay employed with Gannett you must realize that it's not the same company it was 10 years ago. Frankly, it you want better benefits and to be treated better, you should go elsewhere. You have choices.

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    1. They have moved to contrators at a few sites, but there are some jobs that they jhaven't been able to find a way to contract out.

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    2. This isn't MOVING TO contractors, it's SHIFTING their approach to payroll.

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  9. GPS employees will be hit hard.

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  10. We're all going to go part-time, but have to work 30 hours over six days a week. Hey, this is how we roll in a 24/7 organization.

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  11. Want to bet that it's a switch to a policy like this one, which requires a referral to see a specialist and charges more to see an out-of-network doctor. That'll save Gannett money. http://www.uhc.com/employers/health_plans/group_coverage/choice.htm

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    1. You do realize the page you linked to doesn't require a referral? And don't the Gannett plans already require you to use a network provider?

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  12. Of course none of these changes will impact Gracia nor other senior executives. Their medical expenses are all covered by the executive medical plan.

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  13. Gannett has been doing what every other overly greedy company has been doing for the last 5-6 years -- screwing employees and using the weak economy as an excuse. Fact, is, companies like Gannett make it appear that they don't want to lay off people, reduce salaries or cut into health care insurance. It's always for some other reason that they have to do these things. Someone or something beyond their control is to blame. Why is it that more honorable companies don't do this sort of stuff? Good companies that respect employees find other ways to share sacrifice. They don't always take a piece out of the workforce. But at Gannett, it's almost like the empty suits are loving cutting payroll to the bone. Means more money for the people at the top.

    Workers in this country are losing everything while the rich get richer. If this pattern continues, I am going to hate to see what America looks like 20 years from now. If the rich and the corporations like Gannett don't wise up, they might enjoy their profits for the short-term, but watch what happens when the middle class (and former middle class people) finally wakes up.

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    1. Gannett is not like most companies, because it's contracting.

      Since 2006, revenues --mostly newspaper advertising -- have fallen about 40%.

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    2. Amazing and hilarious that people like 11:11 AM ply their trade in the "news" business, yet are so gob-smackingly clueless about what's going on in their own industry!

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    3. Gannett and other publicly-traded companies have been run by Wall Street analysts for the past few years, sacrificing anything long-term for immediate profits. 11:11 is right, and the workers get screwed while the top take their bonuses and perks. Eventually, hopefully, there will be a switch back to middle class values, rewarding the workers that built this country in the last 90 years.

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  14. Hardly shocking as anyone paying attention to what would result with Obama’s Affordable Care Act prior to even its passage knew big changes were coming, including that you likely couldn’t keep your doctor if you liked them.

    Of course, that info didn’t come easily as most media outlets, including Gannett, appeared more focused on their agenda of passing a bill versus doing their jobs to actually help people see what was in it before it passed, ever well after it did.

    Thirty hours being the "new" normal for full-time; i.e. capping part-time hours to that or below is but one example that is now only coming to light for some.

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  15. Our cost for health insurance can’t be going up because President Obama said they would go down and I’m sure all of our newspapers that endorsed him looked into that.

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  16. Republicans to the rescue!

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  17. What a SHOCK! Gannett taking advantage of the ACA to implement cost savings and place added burden on its employees.

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  18. What the CCHP does in essence is allow Gannett to shift the burden of the plan costs to employees with families and reduce the plan costs to single employees who tend to be younger and healthier. According to their numbers 55% of Gannett employees have lower premiums i.e. the single ones, while the remaining 45% have significantly increased premiums. Also since there is no copay only coinsurance the first $1500 ($3000 for families) must be paid out of pocket before the insurance even kicks in.

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  19. Just found out that my wife's insurance cost for a single will be close to $500.00. It was $265.00. She will be 63 and her pension that was frozen is $800.00 a month. Thanks Gannett and Obama. It doesn't pay to work for Gannett. Or DOES it??!!!

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