SPEEA Profs and Techs
Start planning for
health care changes in 2018
For the first time in nine years, the SPEEA Professional and Technical bargaining units will have significant changes to the
medical plans that start in 2018. With these
changes, SPEEA-represented Boeing employees in the Puget Sound contracts will now have
to think more critically about their health care
enrollment choices and will have to determine
which plan makes the most sense for them and
The first step in determining which plan you
should choose is to understand your historical medical usage. Now is a good time to start
collecting and summarizing your health care
expenses so when annual open enrollment occurs
in the fall, you are prepared.
To do this, go to Boeing’s Blue Cross Blue Shield
website - www.bcbsil.com/boeing. Then register an account (if you have not already) and
download all your Explanation of Benefits
(EOB). Once you have your EOBs, you can
type them into a spreadsheet, and summarize
your per-person health care costs.
You will also want to log into www.express-scripts.
com/boeing to get your per-person pharmacy
costs. Once you have all of your costs summarized
for each person you are covering, use this to help
determine which medical plan makes the most
sense for you and your family.
• Based on the allowed amount, would you
have hit your deductible ($300 per person,
no more than $900 per family) under the
Traditional Medical Plan (TMP)?
• How much would your subsequent visits
cost if you had to pay 10% of the allowed
amount after you met your deductible?
• Would you have reached your annual out–
of-pocket max for 2017? What about 2016?
• Did something change in your life that
would indicate your 2018 medical usage
will differ from previous years? For example,
are you expecting a child?
After you have analyzed your healthcare spending
(assuming you were enrolled in the Traditional
Medical Plan), it makes sense to run the same
calculations for the Advantage+ Plan.
Closer look at Advantage+ plan
By contract, the Advantage+ plan deductibles
are the lowest allowed by law for the plan to
remain a Health Savings Account (HSA) qualified medical plan. The recently announced 2018
deductibles are $1,350 if you are covering yourself and $2,700 if you are covering yourself and
Be sure to understand how the deductibles work
on HSA plans when you model your expenses.
For 2018 only, Boeing will provide 75% of the
deductible at the beginning of the year into your
HSA. For 2019 and after, Boeing will provide 50%
of the annual deductible. Under this plan, the full
deductible must be met before the plan pays benefits for anything other than preventative care.
The Advantage+ plan is not for everyone, and
HSAs have tax rules associated with their contributions and distributions. Boeing offers many
resources to help you understand how HSAs
work as well as the tax advantages and consequences associated with them.
In 2015, more than 80% of SPEEA members
in Puget Sound were in the Traditional Medical
Plan (TMP), with less than 5% in the Advantage+
plan. The plan changes included in the Puget
Sound Prof and Tech contracts are significant
enough we expect more than two-thirds of each
bargaining unit will change medical plans.
As a reminder, here are just some of the changes
coming to the TMP next year. The TMP will
have premiums and the copays will switch to
coinsurance. The plan will have annual out-of-pocket max limitations that didn’t exist before.
These changes mean the plan also loses “
grandfathered status” under the Affordable Care Act,
meaning naturopaths and massage therapy will
now be covered.
Additionally, there is a Preferred Partnership option
for the TMP, the Select Network plan and the
Advantage+ plan. If you select this option, it will
replace your “in-network” with the Accountable
Care Organization (ACO) you choose.
By signing up for the Preferred Partnership,
you receive discounted premiums to the TMP
and Select Network plans. For the 2018 plan
year, the company’s HSA contributions under
the Advantage+ health plan with the Preferred
Partnership option will be 100% of the applicable deductible and 80% thereafter.
Additionally, in-network primary care physician office visits will be covered at 100% (after
deductible on Advantage+ plan) and generic prescription drugs purchased through a network
retail pharmacy or through the mail service program will also be covered at 100% (after deductible on Advantage+ plan).
SPEEA will provide much more detailed information as open enrollment nears in the fall.
Meanwhile, now is a good time to start figuring
out your medical usage history, what you expect
in 2018 and which plan will best serve you and
Allison Steele, a sophomore, left, is with Kohana Aisaka,
senior. Her father, Council Rep Roger Aisaka, talked to
their Personal Finance class about the importance of unions.
Personal Finance class
to high school
By Roger Aisaka
SPEEA Council Rep
Iwas invited to speak to a Personal Finance class at Sammamish High School, where my daughter, Kohana Aisaka, goes to school.
Although Personal Finance is not a STEM (Science,
Technology, Engineering and Math) class, I shared
everything about SPEEA and labor unions.
I started off with a brief history about myself
and SPEEA. I talked about the average salaries
of engineers and techs at Boeing, represented by
SPEEA. We also talked about the Boeing South
I talked about the $8.7 billion Washington state
aerospace tax incentive and the bills for accountability (HB 2145 & HB 2146) that tie jobs to
dollars. I shared data which shows union workers
make more than non-union workers.
I spoke about how SPEEA fought for workers in
California for more than 10 years and reached
a settlement worth more than $40 million for
union benefits they were wrongly denied.
We talked about pensions and 401(k) retirement
accounts. We talked about
dues, the power of a union,
and having a binding contract.
For some students, this was the
first time they heard about the
benefits of a labor union. Talking
about SPEEA, if I can do it, anyone can, and everyone should.
(Thanks to the teacher, Jeffrey
Bright, for inviting me to speak
to the class). Jeffrey Bright