As your JLMIC Co-Chair, I want to give you an update on the status of your King County health and welfare benefits:

The JLMIC Protected Fund Reserve Is Strong And Continues To Grow, Ensuring Preservation Of Plan Provisions And No Premium Share In 2017-2018.

In July of last year, we anticipated that the Protected Fund Reserve (“PFR”) would reach $39 million at the end of 2016.  I am pleased to report that we achieved that $39 million target a year early.  As of December 31, 2015, the Protected Fund Reserve totaled $39,774,228!

The Protected Fund Reserve was established in 2013 to create a bulwark against the ever-increasing costs of medical care so as to defer any need for employee premium share towards the excellent, full-family medical, dental, vision and ancillary benefits provided through King County employment and negotiated by our Union at the JLMIC.  

Active employees continue to enjoy full family coverage with no premium share, and no changes to the important plan design provisions such as co-payments, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.  We are currently negotiating a successor Memorandum of Understanding for the 2017-2018 biennium in coordination with the total compensation negotiationsWe expect that there will continue to be no employee premium share for the 2017-2018 biennium, and that there will be no change to the important plan design provisions.  We are seeking to bargain additional County contributions designed to preserve the continued stability of the PFR.

Despite The Very Positive News, And Excellent Management At The JLMIC, Major Changes Are On The Horizon.

At the annual JLMIC “True-Up” meeting, the County presented a need to revamp the Healthy Incentives™ program.  This will not affect employees in 2017, because plan status (gold/silver/bronze) for 2017 is being earned currently (in 2016).  However, starting in 2017, there will need to be a different program in place because the vendor can no longer sustain the customized program as it currently exists.  We will be working hard over the next few months to develop options about how best to move forward, with an eye towards avoiding any negative impact on the applicability of preferred plan provisions.

In addition, the County presented an interest in exploring participation in an Accountable Care Organization (“ACO”) creating an additional option for health care beyond the existing PPO and HMO programs. 

As discussions on these two major questions move forward, we will keep you well-informed. In the meantime, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me as your Union JLMIC Co-Chair.