Saturday, October 06, 2007

Benefits Open Enrollment

Open enrollment for health and wellness benefits will be held from October 15 through November 2. During this time, you have the opportunity to review your current benefits elections and make changes to your coverage for 2008. There are several changes to your benefits plans for next year, some of which reflect growing trends among large U.S. companies -a summary is attached. The most significant changes are:

• Free generic drugs for hypertension, asthma or diabetes-Under the Blue Cross Blue Shield and CIGNA plans, employees and covered dependents with any of these conditions will receive generic drugs for free and pay only $5 for brand-name drugs when purchasing prescriptions for these conditions through the mail order program.

Tobacco use fee -Tribune employees who use tobacco products (or have covered dependents who do so), will pay a $100 per month fee (per family) in addition to their medical premium. Smoking cessation programs will be offered to assist those who use tobacco in leading a smoke-free lifestyle. The fee will be waived upon completion of the program.

• Spousal coverage fee -Employees who enroll l spouse/domestic partner under Tribune's medical plan who also has access to coverage through another employer will pay a $75 per month fee in addition to their medical premium if the spouse/ domestic partner remains under Tribune's plan.

Preventive care continues to be 100 percent covered after the office visit co-payment (including physicals, mammograms and prostate screenings).
To enroll for your benefits, use the instructions included on the attached summary; be sure to print your confirmation statement after making your elections. You must visit eBeneflts to review your benefit options, answer questions about tobacco use and spouse/domestic partner coverage and re-enroll in the flexible spending accounts. Additional information about your benefits will be included in the Enrollment Guide available on eBenefits.
If you have questions about your health and wellness benefits, please contact the Tribune Benefits Service Center at 800/872-2222.

I totally understand about my doctor's concern about my smoking, but now that the insurance companies are charging me $100.00 extra a month for exercising my right to live the way I want it is just a little too much, what ever happened to the land of the free? Isn't this a choice? Is it legal?

1 comment:

Ronnie Pineda said...

What are they thinking? Are we not in America where free choice is a right, not a freedom alone. Why are the Insurance companies and our employer attempting to infring upon our rights and then charge us for it!

$100.00 A MONTH! This is strong arm robbery! How much is it going to cost me to drink a beer each month when it is deemed to be a self inflicted health risk and they decide it could be resolved with a financial penalty.

The Government already penalizes it's citizens in the form of
"SIN TAXES" for their choice to consume alcohol and smoke tobacco and the Insurance companies and our employers should never infring upon our personal lives and on top of that, attempt to reach into our pockets for our decisions.

Our benefits have went down over the last decade while the cost has steadily increased, and these are by far the most uncomprehensible coverage changes we have seen in our decades of employment.

This is ridiculously invasive in our right to choose and comes with a $1200.00 a year price tag.

They also want to penalize you if you cover your spouse under your plan when your spouse has access to coverage with their employer to the tune of $75.00 a month.

Why don't they just say they will no longer cover your spouse, because this is obviously designed to have you remove your spouse instead offering coverage which
YOU ALREADY PAY EXTRA FOR when you buy coverage for your family!

It is more affordable to buy coverage together and will result in numerous inconviences for our families. Many of our spouses will be forced to change providers and treatment facilities migrating to coverage available from their employers.

Hey I have an idea! $100.00 a month penalty per child, we all know how many times we have had to take them to the doctor and what that costs!

That sounds just as stupid as a company smoking tax!
I really should stop buying my kids cigarettes!

But seriously, these are extremely invasive attacks on our rights to choose and should not come with a financial penalty for our decisions. We work for a Newspaper which I occasionally remind everyone, is built on one of our strongest Ammendments protecting our's and their right to free speech.

I cannot believe that they, along with the insurance coverage providers would violate our basic American Rights to choose.

Forward your complaints to:
Luis Lewin
Senior Vice President/Human Resources in where else, Chicago.

I gonna have a beer and a cigarette. At least the FREE generic drugs for Hypertension will control the stress this is going to cause all of us.

Don't get mad, do something about it! I'll be waiting to hear from all of you as I'm sure you will all want to know what we can do about this. Write, e-mail and call Luis Lewin to begin with and let him know how you feel. Send me copies of your letters and I will post them on our blog. I'm sure the rest of the industry will be astonished by this move against our benefits and more importantly, our rights!

In Solidarity!

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