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BARGAINING: AP would save nearly $1.5 million under its health insurance proposal

The Associated Press told the News Media Guild on Thursday that the company would save nearly $1.5 million with its opening health insurance proposal, which would hike Guild-covered employee contributions to premiums by 53 percent next year, increase deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums and increase employees’ coinsurance in the premium plan.

The News Media Guild requested the information from the company as the union formulates a counter-proposal to the company’s plan.

Under AP’s proposal, the annual increase in employees’ contributions for premiums range from $636 more next year for an employee-only premium plan to $2,592 more next year for an employee plus family premium plan.

The AP said its proposal would result in the following savings to the company:

  • Increasing deductibles by $100 for individuals and $200 for families: a savings of $40,763
  • Increasing out-of-pocket maximums by $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families: a savings of $106,338
  • Decreasing the coinsurance paid under the premium plan from 85 percent to 80 percent: a savings of $55,469
  • Eliminating the coverage of compound prescription drugs: a savings of $70,783
  • Moving the prescription drug coverage to a national preferred formulary: a savings of $240,653
  • Increasing employee contributions to medical insurance premiums by 53 percent: a savings of $879,302
  • Increasing employee contributions to dental insurance premiums by about 60 percent: a savings of $87,781

The AP said it wants employees to pay a greater share of their health care costs. In 2016, employees contributed $2.2 million for the medical plan while the AP contributed $13.6 million. For the dental plan, employees contributed $185,000 last year while the AP contributed $661,000.

AP is also proposing that the Guild’s editorial and technology units frozen pension plans be merged with the administrative employees plan saving it $700,000.

Representing the Guild at the table were: Jill Bleed of Little Rock, Vin Cherwoo of New York Sports, technician Ed Morsett of Denver, Guild administrator Kevin Keane and the Guild’s health insurance consultant, Linda Gaal.

Representing the AP at the table were: Alison Quan, director of human resources, technology and business operations; Hilda Auguste, human resources manager; Sue Gilkey, global director of employee benefits; Steve Macri, AP’s attorney; Jean Maye, human resources director; Ellen Fegan, vice president for internal audit; and Keisa Caesar, human resources generalist and project manager.

Bargaining will resume Nov. 6 in Washington.