19.1. The Council agrees that it will participate in good faith
discussions concerning the County’s Health Plans. Both parties agree that revisions in Health Plans or in the contribution ratio between the County and the employee may be necessary to retain an equitable relationship between the gross premium and the County/employee contribution to that premium. The County agrees to provide information to support and inform such discussions.
19.2. Health Plan Changes
Health plan changes that are initiated by the health plan based on either legislative/regulatory changes or health plan organization policy changes are provided to employers each year. These changes are typically not significant in terms of the numbers of individuals who are impacted by the change. For instance, they do not often include co-pay changes for outpatient or inpatient physician or facility services, prescription drug co-pays or major plan design co-pays. Where health plans initiate these kinds of changes to the contract, Employee Benefits will share with labor the specific changes health plans are communicating at the time of renewal, before implementing the change. Where the changes may be eliminated by the employer purchasing, at additional cost, a rider to cover the benefit, it is the County’s desire to implement such changes without riders to keep its design in conformance with the health plans’ book of business design, provide however, it will first meet and confer with the Council on any such matter.
19.3. Benefits Committee
During the term of this MOU, the County and the Unions shall convene the Benefits Committee for the following purposes:
- To continue ongoing discussions regarding cost structures as a part of an overall strategy to maintain balanced enrollment in County plans,
- To investigate the feasibility of revising medical and/or dental coverage and/or plan(s) and strategies to integrate wellness program participation into benefit insurance cost structure,
- To address legislative changes to health insurance legislation, including, but not limited to, the Affordable Care Act.
The Benefits Committee will be composed of County and labor representatives, not to exceed two (2) representatives from each participating labor organization and four (4) County representatives.
19.4. Mid-Term Agreement Implementation
Agreements reached as part of the Benefits Committee may be implemented outside of negotiations if employee organizations representing a majority of employees agree, providing, however, all employee organizations are given an opportunity to meet and confer regarding such agreements.