North America's Strongest Union

Health and Welfare Benefits

WHEREAS, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has fought for, and presently sustains, some of the most generous health and welfare benefits in the United States through collective bargaining; and

WHEREAS, Teamster-affiliated health and welfare funds make up one of the largest purchasers and providers of health care benefits in the United States; and

WHEREAS, Teamster employers are constantly pushing for health and welfare benefits reductions and for shifting the cost of those benefits onto our members and may attempt to drop health care coverage completely and shift their responsibility for such coverage onto the federally funded health care exchanges scheduled to open in 2014, as required under the Patient Protection and Accountable Care Act (PPACA); and

WHEREAS, the cost of health care benefits, including prescription drugs and retiree medical care, still continues to increase faster than the general inflation rate, even with the passage of PPACA; and

WHEREAS, over the past fifteen years, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters has attempted to defray the cost of health care and related benefits by offering various voluntary and group purchasing plans such as TeamsteRx, TeamVision, the Teamster retiree medical program and, most recently, the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan sponsored by the IBT Voluntary Employee Benefits Trust, which, as required by PPACA, has begun to provide enhanced coverage to participants who are in the “doughnut hole”; and

WHEREAS, although PPACA is likely to accomplish its goal of reducing health care costs and increasing the availability of health care coverage in the long term, certain PPACA requirements are likely to increase the costs to Teamster and other health and welfare funds of providing health care in the short term, and the manner in which certain provisions of PPACA will eventually be interpreted and implemented is still somewhat uncertain; and

WHEREAS, PPACA requires health and welfare plans to increase the annual maximum limit on individual health care claims to $750,000 in 2011 and to remove the annual and lifetime limitations on the amount of individual health care claims by 2014; and

WHEREAS, many Teamster health and welfare funds will be required to raise the annual and lifetime maximum limits on individual health care claims over the next few years in order to meet the requirements of PPACA, actions which will necessarily create additional actuarial risk for those funds because of the potential for very large individual medical claims;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters will continue to communicate to Teamster health and welfare funds and Teamster bargainers about all of the legislative, regulatory and lobbying efforts aimed at preserving and protecting Teamster multiemployer and other collectively-bargained health and welfare funds, concerning enhancements made to Teamster group purchasing programs, concerning upcoming trustee education programs and materials and, in particular, concerning the forthcoming establishment of a new national stop-loss health insurance program intended to reduce the costs of Teamster health and welfare funds by spreading the risk to those funds exposed by large catastrophic medical claims; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this 28th Convention of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters strongly encourages all Teamster-affiliated health and welfare funds and Teamster bargainers to support these collective efforts, to share information and to work together to develop cost-saving strategies such as purchasing coalitions, retiree health initiatives, benefits bargaining strategies and new innovative benefit programs such as those provided through the IBT Voluntary Employee Benefits Trust or other avenues to preserve our strong tradition of providing meaningful health and welfare benefits to our membership.

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