HEALTHCARE, the major stumbling block in the 2013 UPS/Teamsters negotiations. A little research will reveal that our negotiations are being SERIOUSLY affected by UNCERTAINTY, GREED, and POLITICS. I firmly believe that BOTH UPS and UPS TEAMSTER negotiators are victims of UNCERTAIN economics for our healthcare premiums. In actuality, we are ALL fast becoming VICTIMS of GOVERNMENT IDIOCRACY, EXTREME SOCIALISM, and possible PRICE GOUGING by AETNA as our contract deadline draws near. The following will help you understand why the Teamsters may be offering to take the burden of the financial healthcare "risk" from UPS, by managing our healthcare benefits themselves. The question you will have to ask yourself...is..."Do you really want that to happen?" FOR ONE MOMENT, place yourself as the OWNER of a very large business that is attempting to provide healthcare for ALL your employees. NOW,...... what do you do when your healthcare insurance company (AETNA) tells you that they are not certain what your insurance premiums will be for the next 7 years? The "Healthcare Affordability Act" currently has MANY unknowns. For example...from a recent article in Bloomberg: (more comments below) "Health insurance premiums may as much as double for some small businesses and individual buyers in the U.S. when the Affordable Care Act’s major provisions start in 2014, Aetna Inc. (AET)’s chief executive officer said. While subsidies in the law will shield some people, other consumers who make too much for assistance are in for “premium rate shock,” Mark Bertolini, who runs the third-biggest U.S. health-insurance company, told analysts yesterday at a conference in New York. The prospect has spurred discussion of having Congress delay or phase in parts of the law, he said. “We’ve shared it all with the people in Washington and I think it’s a big concern,” the CEO said. “We’re going to see some markets go up as much as as 100 percent.” Bertolini’s prediction is at odds with Congressional Budget Office estimates that the law will have little effect on small and large-employer plans and the Obama administration’s projections that middle-class families will actually save money. The 2010 law is expected to extend health care to about 30 million people who otherwise couldn’t get insurance, paid for by new taxes and fees on companies and wealthier individuals." (Full Article Below Link) Aetna CEO Sees Obama Health Law Doubling Some Premiums - Bloomberg As the owner of a company, I would not want to promise my employees that I could cover the cost of their healthcare, NO MATTER what the premium may rise to. Wage increases, etc., are EASY to calculate and plan for....while skyrocketing healthcare premiums are not. WE, the MIDDLE CLASS people are the ones really PAYING for the 30 million people that otherwise could not get insurance in this government instituted health care plan. Blaming this solely on Obama is BS and a "political smokescreen". The truth of the matter is that the "Affordability Healthcare Act" is a BIPARTISAN effort that benefits BOTH sides of the political isle. People at the poverty level will receive free and low cost healthcare (favored by Dems) while also lowering the costs of Medicare (A GOP favorite) "The Romney campaign has gone on the offense on Medicare, charging that the Affordable Care Act “cuts $716 billion” from the entitlement program. That $716 billion figure is one you’ll probably be hearing a lot about during this election cycle. It’s worth understanding where it comes from and what the spending reductions mean for the Medicare program" Above and beyond all the healthcare uncertainty and political volleyball game is, the fact that AETNA themselves is possibly taking advantage of "ObamaCare" to raise healthcare costs exorbitantly. This is comparable to our oil companies raising fuel prices during a hurricane, political unrest in the mid-east, when the president of the oil company wants a raise...etc... SUMMARY - The contractual issues involved in our healthcare negotiations are complex and filled with uncertainty. Without a doubt, both UPS and AETNA can take advantage of these uncertainties in a variety of ways.......NONE of which are good for us. A SOLUTION may be to have a FLEXIBLE plan whereby we contribute based on the changes in the laws over time with oversight from the Teamsters. Also, as the Bloomberg article indirectly indicates..... it would be an EXCELLENT idea for UPS to get alternate healthcare BIDS for our healthcare plan. From Bloomberg: “That just seems silly,” said Gary Claxton, a vice president at Kaiser Family Foundation, aMenlo Park, California- based nonprofit that studies health issues. “I can’t imagine anything going on in the small-group market that would change the average premium that much. On the individual market, there’s arguments for things changing, but those magnitudes seem high.” I believe we need to remain flexible and base our healthcare costs in accordance with ACTUAL government changes in the law over time. EVERYTHING is subject to change and we should NOT be made to pay a SET or INCREASING co-pay over the years. The fact that UPS was going to implement an increasing co-pay REGARDLESS of what the premiums may be is absolutely ridiculous, unfair, and make no sense.