The CUFA Executive met yesterday morning with Associate Vice President Human Resources, Carolina Willsher and members of her team to discuss their proposed changes to the Health Plan. We articulated our position, and in particular the motion that was adopted at the Special General Meeting on May 24, to reject the proposed plan. We further articulated that the membership favours maintaining the current health plan as is. To that end, we asked how much of an increase in premiums it would take to do so. Based on increased costs that the plan has sustained over the last few years, they predict that premiums should have been increased by about 10% per year over the last 3 years and would need to be increased by a similar percentage going forward.
The other notable points that came out of this meeting are as follows:
- They no longer recognize that January 1, 2023 is a viable implementation date for any proposed changes.
- They further noted that the plan has sustained a deficit for the last few years and we have avoided the premium increase of about 10% during this time because of a surplus of funds that has been used to cover this deficit. Having said that, we asked how long this surplus could continue to fund ongoing deficits and we were told about two years, after which time premiums would need to be increased by more than 10% if we were to maintain the existing plan. Bottom line from our perspective: there is no urgency to make any changes to the Plan for at least one year. Moreover, smaller percentage increases to current premiums would extend the time we may need to arrive at better alternatives compared to what we have seen so far.
- They are now prepared to essentially take this back to the drawing board, based on our comments and the expressed concerns of the membership. To that end, Associate VP Wilsher will go back to the CEBC (Concordia Employee Benefits Committee) to relay our position and those of the other unions and will come back to us with a revised proposal.
We will keep you informed of ongoing developments.
Ian Rakita, CUFA President