Q: Can you clarify insurance premiums in the Insurance Benefits tentative agreement?
The 2018-2021 Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (JCBA) included a freeze on premiums at the 2019 rates until a new contract was negotiated and ratified. This means our workgroup has had frozen insurance premiums for five years (2018-2023). Currently, Flight Attendants pay just over 16.3% of the full cost of the insurance premium (based on the 2023 rates). Per the tentative agreement on §23 Insurance Benefits, communicated on 11/10/2022, that percentage will not change until 2024.
If a full Tentative Agreement is reached and ratified in 2023, insurance premiums will incrementally phase to 20% – the same percentage as all other non-management employee groups (including agents, ramp, pilots, etc.). Of course none of us want to pay more for health insurance, but the Negotiating Committee believes it is unrealistic for our premiums to remain frozen at levels below what other labor groups are paying. However, we did negotiate phased implementation of 18% in 2024 and 20% in 2025 to reasonably bring us up to parity with other groups.
The Negotiating Committee absolutely understands the expectation of healthy pay increases that will outpace healthcare premium increases — and high inflation. This negotiated increase in insurance premium percentages is contingent on securing significant pay increases, a position we made clear at the bargaining table.