Benefits update from CA Freelancer’s Guild

Promising opportunity for health benefits from the Guild Freelancers in SF. Details below.


Dear Freelancers,

Great news! A comprehensive medical/dental/vision plan is within

Friday, members of the Guild Freelancers unit heard from Carrie
Winsten, representing the Dublin Insurance Services. Dublin
administers the Health Care Employee/Employer Dental and Medical Trust
of the CWA. Dublin has been providing coverage to disparate labor
groups — some through a common employer, others independent workers
like us — for 60 years, and they come to Carl Hall highly

Carrie presented various options for health coverage, including
medical, dental and vision.

The Dublin plan contrast with the others we've reviewed in two ways:
One, we do not need the large numbers that other insurers require to
underwrite a health plan. We would be added to the Taft-Hartley Trust,
whose ranks number 25,000.

Also, we would not have to choose between Kaiser and another plan
(likely United Health Care). We could offer  up to four choices, just
as employers do. All the plans, incidentally, would cover children
through the age of 26 come February, thanks to the health care reform
law.  And Carrie can arrange flexible spending accounts.

It will be the Guild's responsibility to develop eligibility
requirements and police compliance. According to Carl and Carrie, we
need to avoid the appearance of being an association that exists
merely to gain group health coverage (That’s the law.) One way would
be to require members to show they derive a certain minimum percentage
of their income from freelance employment. We will get clarification
on where we need to set the bar as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we
welcome your thoughts on this matter.

Dublin Insurance would handle billing and collection, for which we
would each pay $8 a month (as compared to the industry average of $21
a month).

If we as a unit opt to go with Dublin Insurance, we could add short-
and long-term disability coverage and life insurance three to six
months after the date coverage takes effect. We may also choose to
incorporate a supplemental plan for those on Medicare.

At the moment, those of us who were at the meeting believe this is by
far the best option we’ve seen. Yes, it would be great to have lower
rates. Indeed, Guild retirees are probably better off with what they
have. But for the rest of us, this looks very promising. We want to
emphasize that we need to move fairly quickly to get a plan in place
the beginning of 2011 when many of us lose COBRA coverage.

How to proceed? Here's a rough timeline:

 August-September: Circulate the options among the membership, and
develop a plan that reflects member input to the greatest degree
 September: Guild Health Coverage Committee meets with staff to
develop eligibility requirements and develop a structure for
monitoring compliance.
 October: Committee presents a plan to the Guild executive committee
for approval.
 November: Open enrollment month.
 Dec. 1: Deadline for delivering plan to Dublin.
 Jan. 1: Plans take effect.

Please peruse the attached tables and share your thoughts, questions
and preferences (contact Rebecca if you are having trouble with the
links). We would like to move on this aggressively but thoughtfully,
and shape a proposal based on a thorough reading of member concerns.

Proposed dental & Vision insurance

Proposed medical insurance

In solidarity,

Bill Snyder

Rebecca Rosen Lum
Unit Chair, Guild Freelancers

Michael Fitzhugh was not at the meeting but has agreed to join our
unit’s health benefits committee ( Another
volunteer would be welcome, of course.

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