MEA News Re Flex Allotment, Health Insurance Rates, and Discretionary Leave Beginning July 1, 2015
MEA is pleased to report two pieces of good news related to the upcoming fiscal year.
First, MEA’s contract once again provides you with 16 hours of discretionary leave for use during the new fiscal year beginning July 1.
Second, our contract provides MEA-represented employees with a $1,180 increase in Flex dollars, bringing our total Flex allotment of $8,555 to spend for FY 16 when the City begins its annual Flex “open enrollment” process in the coming weeks.
Even better — the vast majority of this $1,180 Flex increase will actually be available to improve your personal/family budget this year because the renewal cost rates for most MEA and City health, dental and vision offerings will NOT increase!
For employees who take either of the MEA-offered Sharp Health plans, there will be no cost increase. For employees who take the City-offered Kaiser plan, there will actually be a slight cost decrease. For MEA’s vision plan offering with VSP, there will be no cost increase. For MEA-offered MetLife HMO or PPO Dental plans, there will be a slight 2.5% increase in costs.
This means that the vast majority of MEA-represented employees will actually be able to put this $1,180 Flex dollar increase to work for themselves rather than handing it over to insurance providers. For example, if you are currently paying out of pocket for dependent coverage with Sharp or Kaiser, you can use this $1,180 to reduce your out-of-pocket cost and increase your take-home pay beginning on July 1. Or, for those who select the waiver option or have “employee only” coverage with Sharp or Kaiser, this extra $1,180 in Flex dollars will be available to increase your taxable cash-back or the amount you transfer to your 401(k) plan.
Be on the lookout for further information from the City regarding open enrollment. In the meantime, take heart in this small bit of good economic news.
Be assured also that MEA is singularly focused on achieving future compensation increases despite the limitations of the 2012 Proposition B “reforms.” Simple cost of living increases and additional healthcare cost of living adjustments are long overdue, and the City’s ongoing employee retention and recruitment challenges (beyond its police force) will continue to get worse without timely and effective action by the Mayor and Council.
MEA’s current contract requires the City to re-open and negotiate over additional increases in non-pensionable pay for each of the next two fiscal years. We have been on a mission — and will continue our efforts — to make the case to the City’s elected leaders about the need for those increases, not only because you deserve them but also because the City’s future capacity to provide essential services depends on them. We will keep you updated in the coming months as our contract re-opening process plays out.
In the meantime, as always, please don’t hesitate to contact any of your MEA representatives at 619-264-6632 or by e-mail.