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Volume 2010-11 Issue # T-2 5130 W. Vliet Street Milwaukee, WI 53208 414-259-1990 www.mtea.org
Tentative Agreement: Q & A
This publication answers questions members frequently ask about the
- The First Step
tentative teacher contract agreement.
The Q and A's
are also at mtea.org. As we receive more questions,
we will add them to our online edition. Questions that apply to only one
ask that you first
or a few members will be answered individually.
Why do our union's Teacher Bargaining Team and Executive Board
recommend ratifying the tentative contract agreement?
Overall, there are four main reasons.
. The contract achieves the membership's top priority
maintaining the high quality PPO health insurance plan. In our union's
bargaining survey, conducted to prepare for negotiating this contract, our
members made maintaining their health insurance options the #1 priority
November 3, 4, 8, and 11
The contract maintains the same PPO plan that provides the coverages,
the freedom to choose doctors, and the benefits which most educators select
to protect themselves and their families. The contract secures each
member's right to choose the higher quality PPO plan or the high quality
. The new pact maintains contractual rights and protections
which professional educators deserve, and our union has fought hard to
gain and preserve. Evaluation, due process, seniority, and other rights
. The agreement balances what was maintained and gained
for members with unavoidable concessions. The economic conditions and
the anti-teacher context at the local, state, and national levels, were fac-
tors which made bargaining this contract exceptionally difficult - for our
union and for our district. Both parties faced tough decisions, and both
Our union's leaders are recommending what they judge to be the best
contract possible for the financial security and professional future of our
. New provisions for professional development
and the use of
banking days provide an unprecedented opportunity for our district and our
union to focus on improving student achievement during this and the next
Yes. In the past, our teacher team has not agreed
to School Board proposals for this type of raise. It
Why was a four-year contract bargained?
is clearly a gain, but it's also concessionary.
A four-year pact provides a stable framework for this
5. How is this year's raise a gain for teachers?
school year and the next two years. During this time,
you will know what your salary and benefits will be,
Teachers will be paid a 3% raise on all of their
enabling you to consider your financial situation when
earnings between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011.
making professional and personal decisions.
The total of two lump sums (paid on December 24,
The contract gives our union and the new MPS
2010 and June 24, 2011) will be the same amount
administration a foundation and the time to work
you would receive if the 3% raise were applied to
together for school funding reform
that will address
the needs of our students and improvements in
teaching and learning systemwide
For example, if you earn $50,000 within the 365 day
period, your 3% raise will total $1,500.
The financial security of our members rests upon
the financial stability of MPS. Until the state's
6. How is the 2010-11 raise concessionary?
broken school funding law is fixed, MPS will
continue to face devastating cuts every year.
The salary schedules and rates will remain the same
as in 2008-09. You will be paid a 3% raise for
2010-11, but the raise won't increase your salary rate
1. What's the impact of no raise for the first year
to a higher base amount for subsequent raises. This
of the contract, 2009-10?
is the down side of a "non-base building" raise.
It's a pay freeze. The 2009-10 salary schedules and
7. Why will this year's raise be paid in two lump
rates will not increase. There will be no retroactive
The district bargained for this payment method so it
2. Why did our union's teacher bargaining team
can use the same calculations process it uses for
agree to a pay freeze for last school year?
retroactive payments, which have a track record of
The pay freeze and certain health insurance conces-
sions were necessary to reach a voluntary settlement.
8. To which 2010-11 earnings will the 3% raise
Our team analyzed arbitration as an alternative and
concluded it posed a high risk that more severe
The raise will apply to your base salary earnings and
Our team bargained hard for the best financial
package possible and achieved two key goals:
♦Your base salary is the amount paid for your step
and lane on the salary schedule. It is noted on your
♦The financial security of our members is protected
for at least three more years.
♦What was maintained and gained in member
♦Extra earnings include: summer school (days worked
benefits and salary strikes a balance with concessions
after June 30, 2010); class coverage; coaching;
which responsibly address the financial needs of our
professional development after school, on Saturday, or
during the summer; playground duty; etc.
3. If you're not at the top of the schedule, will
9. What time periods will the lump sum payments
the first-year freeze affect the increment (step)
increase you received last school year?
Your first payment, on your December 24 paycheck,
No. If your salary was below the schedule maximum,
will be applied to all contract earnings from July 1,
it automatically increased one step last year and will
2010 through the end of December, 2010.
increase each year until you reach the top step.
The second lump sum payment, on your June 24,
2011 paycheck, will be applied to all contract
earnings from January 1, 2011 through June of 2011.
4. For this school year, the tentative agreement
contract provides a 3% "non base building"
raise. Is this new?
10. Will the federal income tax withholding rate
4. How will teachers be informed of inservice
on both lump sums be 25%?
You will be able to choose the courses for the next
Yes. MPS will comply with IRS rules by withholding
school year from an online catalog, enabling you to
at the 25% rate, as it does on retroactive payments.
plan ahead for your own professional growth.
For example, suppose 18% of your pay is normally
5. Will the "catalog" inservice opportunities be
withheld for federal income tax. If you receive a
$600 lump sum payment in December, $142 will be
withheld at the 25% rate. This is about $39 more
Yes. After school and Saturday catalog courses will
than your 18% rate. (Your normal 18% rate will be
applied to your regular earnings on that check.)
6. Will teachers be paid for voluntary courses?
11. Could the withholding rate be more than 25%?
Yes. The contractual pay provisions will apply.
Yes. If your normal rate is higher than 25%, IRS
♦After-school inservices will be paid at the part-time
requires MPS to withhold the higher amount.
certificated hourly rate $25.56/hour in 2011-12).
♦Classes on Saturday or during the summer will be
Salary: 2011-12 and 2012-13
paid at each teacher's individual hourly
12. How will the raises for the next two school
years be implemented?
♦If Saturday or summer classes are the same length
as a regular school day, you will be paid at your
Both raises will be handled as in past contracts.
7. Will teachers who teach catalog courses
Next school year, your biweekly checks will include
receive pay or released time?
a 2.5% raise starting on July 1, 2011.
Teachers recruited by MPS to teach inservice courses
In 2012-13, your paychecks will include an additional
will be released for preparation time equal to their
instructional time, or will be paid at their individual
Both raises will increase all salary schedules and rates,
building the base for future contract raises.
8. Instead of pay, will teachers have the option
of receiving inservice credits for moving to a
higher division (lane) on the salary schedule?
Yes. Teachers who need credits to move to a higher
1. Are the negotiated changes in professional
salary division will have that option.
development a gain for teachers?
9. How many inservice credits can be used to
Yes, both professionally and financially.
move to higher lane?
2. What are the professional benefits?
Teachers will be able to apply up to seven MPS
inservice credits toward the 16 college credits needed
Most importantly, the new contract establishes a
to move to the BA+16, MA+16, and MA+32 lanes.
process which treats teachers as professionals and
All teachers will have a meaningful voice in shaping
♦A maximum of 7 MPS inservice credits.
the professional development courses they need,
through an annual survey. The survey will be
This is the combination of inservice and college credits
developed and analyzed jointly by representatives of
MPS used before were catalog dropped in 2002.
our union and the new administration. Teachers will
10. Will MPS credits apply toward moving to the
be able to evaluate the courses they take, on a jointly
No. Moving to the MA lane will continue to require
3. Will a variety of courses be offered?
masters degree. However, you'll be able
to accumulate MPS inservice credits and apply them
Yes. The new administration will offer a variety of
for moving to the MA+16 and MA+32 lanes.
inservice courses based on the needs of educators.
For example, there will be offerings for different grade
11. How many hours are required to earn one
3. Will teachers continue to have an equal
MPS inservice credit?
amount of time for individual preparation/planning?
At least 12 hours of in-class instruction are required.
Yes. However, instead of half days, teachers will
have full days for individual preparation/planning.
Up to 12 additional hours of study outside of class
may be assigned. The maximum for combined in-class
4. What does a "full day for individual teacher
12. Will MPS inservice courses benefit initial
Exactly what it says. The entire day is strictly for
educators to individually plan and prepare. No
inservices. No meetings - grade level, departmental,
Yes. You may find MPS courses which will be an
faculty, school committees, or parent/community.
excellent component of your Professional Development
Plan. District classes can be more targeted to your
5. With the full-day format, how will time be
specific needs than college courses.
equalized between individual preparation/planning
13. Will MPS inservice courses benefit initial edu-
and centrally developed professional development?
Equal time will be attained by alternating the number
The financial benefit will depend on your situation. If
of days used for each purpose, in two-year cycles.
you need credits to move to the BA+ 16 lane, MPS
inservice credits save you college tuition costs.
In each two-year cycle, there will be 5 full days for
individual teacher preparation/planning, and 5 full days
If you are already in the BA+ 16 lane, you need an
for districtwide professional development.
earned masters to move to the MA lane. You won't
be able to use MPS inservice credits until you move
6. Will the equal time cycle start this school
Initial educators should examine their specific needs
Yes. The two individual banking days earlier this
and plans to determine if there's a fiscal benefit of
school year provided half of each day for staff ac-
tivities and half for individual preparation/planning.
Teachers have used the equivalent of one full day for
14. Will MPS inservice credits apply to the DPI
preparation/planning. The school-based activities (two
requirement for renewing five-year licenses?
To start the alternating cycle, two of the remaining
2010-11 banking days will be for centrally developed
1. What does "centrally developed professional
professional development, and one day will be for
The new administration views coherent, high quality
7. What is the schedule for the use of the three
professional development (PD) as key to improving
remaining banking days?
teaching and learning throughout MPS.
January 20, 2011
Superintendent Gregory Thornton wants to engage
educators at every grade level and content area in
♦Teachers at K-8 grade levels will have a full day
developing a common understanding of districtwide
for individual preparation and planning.
reforms, such as the Comprehensive Literacy Plan.
♦Teachers at 9-12 grades will have a full day for
Using banking days for districtwide PD is an essen-
districtwide professional development.
tial step toward helping all schools be "on the same
page.” All teachers and administrators will be involved
March 14, 2012
in an ongoing process which consistently supports our
♦Teachers at 9-12 grades will have a full day for
district’s goals and direction - and our shared
individual preparation and planning.
commitment to teaching all children.
♦Teachers at K-8 grade levels will have a full day
2. Will centrally planned professional development
for districtwide professional development.
replace school-based activities on banking days?
May 20, 2012 (April 11 in IB Schools)
Yes. Schools will not have time on banking days for
the school-based activities such as those conducted for
All teachers K-12 will have a full day for districtwide
half of the two banking days earlier this school year.
8. Is the one day for individual preparation/
planning this school year guaranteed?
1. How will incompatibility transfers change?
Yes. The provision for the remaining banking days
Currently, teachers must confer with their evaluator to
this school year states: "Teachers are guaranteed at
request an incompatibility transfer. (This provision is
least one full day for individual preparation/planning
customarily referred to as "Q-9," because of its initial
from the date of ratification through the end of their
In the revised Q-9 process, the first step teachers will
This was bargainined because of the possiblity that
take is writing their reasons for requesting to leave the
making up a day of instruction due to an inclement
school and submitting it to the MTEA office.
weather closing, may alter the banking day schedule.
The MTEA staff will forward a copy to the Office
9. What is the cycle for the next two years?
of School Administration - not
to the principal. A
district administrator will confer with the principal. This
may result in the transfer without a meeting that would
days for individual preparation/planning.
days for districtwide professional development.
If not, MTEA and MPS representatives will confer.
If they do not agree to the transfer, a conference will
days for individual preparation/planning.
be held which will include the principal and the
days for districtwide professional development.
teacher, who will be represented by an MTEA staff
10. In the future, how will the use of the five
banking days be scheduled?
The conference may result in the teacher deciding to
remain at the school. If not, the teacher would
Setting the banking day dates is already part of the
annual process of calendar bargaining. Which dates
will be used for individual preparation/planning and will
2. Does the teacher who requests a Q-9 transfer
be for districtwide professional development will be
make the final decision?
determined as part of that bargaining.
Yes. Even if a conference with the teacher is held,
11. Will individual schools vote on whether or not
the teacher decides whether to transfer out or not.
to do banking time?
3. Is there an exception to holding a conference?
No. All schools will continue to bank time for the
next two school years without a faculty vote.
Yes. If a teacher requests an incompatibility transfer
for the first time in any seven-year period, the teacher
12. Why is the annual vote being eliminated?
may transfer out of the school without a conference.
DPI requires MPS to conduct mandatory inservice for
4. Are there other Q-9 changes?
all educators on reforms such as the Comprehensive
Literacy Plan. Using banking days is the best way
Yes. The new contract would limit how often a
to ensure that all schools and teachers participate in
teacher may request an incompatibility transfer:
districtwide professional development.
13. Are the professional development "catalog"
courses the same as the "centrally developed
PD" on banking days?
5. What will happen when teachers transfer out
No. The catalog courses will be responsive to the
of a school under a Q-9?
specific needs of teachers - geared to grade levels,
subject areas, and varied professional responsibilities.
When teachers leave a school on an incompatibility
transfer, they will be assigned by the MPS Human
Banking day professional development will engage all
Resources Department to a vacancy within their DPI
The purpose of using banking days for districtwide
If there is no vacancy, the teacher will work on a
professional development is to provide a coherent direc-
day-to-day assignment basis until a vacancy arises.
tion and clear goals to improve teaching and learning.
Most of the remaining questions explain the health
Insurance Terminology Explained
For your quick reference, some of the commonly-used
health insurance terms are defined below:
For many questions, the number of the page in the
Ratification Document which corresponds to the
- Generic term for doctors, hospitals,
question is in bold print at the end of the answer.
clinics, physical therapists that provide medical services.
For example, "RD-6
" is at the end of the answer to
PPO - Preferred Provider Organization
. A health
plan commonly administered by an insurance company
which negotiates lower costs for the medical services
Other questions will not have a Ratification Document
of doctors, hospitals, clinics, and other providers.
These preferred providers are considered "in-network"
For example, the first question relates to sections in
the 2007-09 contract which have not changed. They
HMO - Health Maintenance Organization
are not reprinted in the Ratification Document.
health plan that uses a managed care approach as a
means of cutting costs. HMO's are also commonly
Our "Old" Labels
administered by insurance companies that have their
Since 2001, our publications have called the PPO
plan, administered by Aetna, the “Aetna plan.”
Technically that was not correct. Our negotiated PPO
The providers are closely monitored and managed.
plan has never been a standard Aetna PPO plan.
They must follow the HMO's guidelines in determin-
ing which medical services are necessary.
PPO Always Distinct
The PPO plan has always been unique. It was
- A set dollar amount (or percentage) you
created when our union bargained for the change to
pay out-of-pocket everytime you receive certain
Aetna, replacing Blue Cross/Blue Shield in 2001. The
medical services, such as prescriptions.
district's PPO has been virtually the same plan ever
since. The only modifications have been made
- The amount you must pay first for
through contract bargaining and the arbitration decision
medical services each calendar year, before your
UHC HMO Label
- The percentage you pay for medical
In the past, we’ve often referred to the HMO plan,
services after you pay an annual deductible.
administered by UnitedHealthcare (UHC), as the
“UHC plan.” There's also a technical problem with
For example, if your coinsurance is 10%, your
that label. The HMO is a standard UHC plan, but
insurance will pay 90% once you pay the deductible.
- The most you could pay
Labels Must Change
for coinsurance in a calendar year. When you reach
coinsurance maximum, your insurance pays 100%.
Ratification of the tentative agreement will maintain
virtually the same PPO plan. But UHC will be the
plan administor. UHC will continue to administer
"PPO" and "HMO"
With UHC administering both plans, we have to
change the labels. From now on, we're calling the
PPO plan simply the "PPO" and the HMO plan the
Health Insurance Q & A's
7. How can you find out if a doctor is in UHC's
1. Will teachers maintain the right to choose the
There are three options: ♦Go to mtea.org for a link
PPO or the HMO?
directly to the doctor search page on UHC's website.
Yes. The new contract maintains your right to choose
♦Call UHC at 1-866-873-3903
and press "1." UHC
the high quality health plan you want for yourself and
customer service representatives are available to
answer your doctor network questions, on weekdays
between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. ♦Review the 800-
2. Will the PPO plan remain virtually the same?
page in UHC directory our union has sent to the BR
Yes. The PPO plan that has been negotiated by our
union and the School Board for over past decade will
8. What if you're in treatment with a doctor in
continue when UHC replaces Aetna as the plan
Aetna's PPO network, but not UHC's?
You are able to keep your doctor for as long as you
3. Is there a way to explain what keeping the
want. However, you will be responsible for higher
same PPO plan means - without technical terms?
Yes. Imagine the MPS PPO plan as a school bus,
9. Will there be a grace period for the transition
custom-made and periodically modified for better fuel
from Aetna and UHC?
efficiency and passenger safety. The modifications are
The PPO school bus is not
a standard Aetna model
10. What are the conditions necessary to be part
currently. It will not
become a standard
of the 90-day grace period?
You must be "under an active course of treatment" by
The PPO will remain the same school bus, but with
a doctor in Aetna's network, but not UHCs on the
a new driver. (There will be some minor changes,
date UHC starts to process claims. You must apply
which have been bargained for the 2009-13 contract.
In short: Same school bus, different driver!
If you meet both conditions, your ongoing treatment
within 90 days of UHC's start date will be paid as if
4. What is a PPO network?
your doctor were in-network. RD-6
Insurance companies negotiate discounts with a wide
11. Is there a way to explain how the 90-day
array of doctors, clinics, hospitals, and other medical
grace period will work?
providers. The purpose is to encourage participants
to use these Preferred Providers
as their first
Yes, by an example. Suppose the doctor who is
for medical care.
treating you charges $90 for each office visit.
5. Does UHC have more than one PPO network?
For each visit within 90 days of UHC's start date, you
would continue to pay $10 - the in-network co-pay.
Yes. UHC has four PPO networks. Our PPO will
use the "UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus" network.
After the 90-day grace period, you would pay $27
6. Will doctors in the Aetna PPO network be in
the UHC network?
12. When would UnitedHealthcare replace Aetna
as administrator of the PPO plan?
Not necessarily, although it is likely because both
companies have extensive PPO networks locally.
UnitedHealthcare (UHC) would start to process claims
and other administrative tasks no sooner than April 1,
Some doctors, who are not in Aetna's network, will be
in UHC's network. Likewise, some doctors in Aetna's
network, will not be in UHC's network.
13. Would teachers be notified in advance of the
exact date of the change?
Yes. The contract requires the district to notify our
union at least 60 days prior to the start date.
14. Why was a health insurance labor manage-
3. What are extra earnings?
ment committee bargained?
There will be no premium deductions on pay for
Our teacher team has concerns about a new PPO
summer school, inservices, lunch duty, class coverage,
plan administrator, based on transition issues in the
coaching, etc. RD-6
past, during the switch from Blue Cross to Aetna in
March of 2001 and research on the practices of for-
4. How will premium deductions impact your
profit companies including Aetna and UHC.
Your contributions will automatically be run through the
We want the committee to start in the committee in
MPS 125 plan. Handling premium contributions on
January to jointly and proactively work out as many
a pre-tax basis will provide you with more money to
implementation/transition issues before UHC starts to
spend than if it were taxable income. (With the 125
plan, deductions are not
made for income tax with-
holding and Social Security/FICA.) RD-6
The Board's team wants the committee to discuss
issues - especially for retirees
- along with service
5. Why did our union's negotiators decide to bar-
quality and other health insurance topics. RD-6
gain to a salary-based premium contribution?
15. Did our team propose a PPO administrator
As health care costs skyrocketed locally and nation-
other than UHC?
ally, a team of our union's leaders, staff, bargaining
team members (teacher and EA), along with our
Yes. In fact, our negotiators strongly preferred the
insurance actuary, spent months researching and
WEA Trust. The Trust is non-profit and teacher-
developing innovative, long-term strategies to sustain
managed, with outstanding member service.
16. Was an agreement to have UHC administor
One of the conclusions from that study dealt directly
the PPO necessary to reach a settlement?
with how to deal with employee premium contributions,
if and when necessary. The concensus
: The best
strategy for maintaining the PPO would be to bargain
premium contributions based on salary
The district took bids for a new PPO administrator
last year. Milliman, the firm the Board hired study
: Basing contributions on the premium cost
the bids, recommended UHC primarily because its bid
of the plan chosen by each teacher would result in
had substantially higher savings than the bids from the
WEA Trust, Aetna, Humana, and Blue Cross/Blue
6. How would a percentage of the premium for
the member's choice of plan eliminate the PPO?
Employee Premium Contributions
Employee contributions based on the premium cost of
address the details of the agreement
their choice of plan would cause adverse selection.
for employee premium contributions based on salary.
Here's a likely scenario. Suppose the premium share
our union bargained this
for family coverage is $100/month for the PPO and
$40/month for the HMO. If so, healthier (typically
younger) teachers would choose the HMO.
1. Will you pay a premium contribution based on
your salary if you are in the HMO?
A higher percentage of teachers with multiple and
serious health issues (typically older teachers) would
If you are in either the HMO or the PPO, a
choose the PPO - creating adverse selection.
premium contribution will be deducted from your base
Each year, the trend would drive up the cost of PPO
- until only seriously ill members would choose it.
2. What does "base earnings" mean?
The cost of the PPO to the district and the employee's
premium share would make the PPO unsustainable.
Base earnings include only the amount you
The PPO would be eliminated, and all teachers would
receive for your regular workdays during your normal
work year - not
any extra earnings.
Base salary earnings are noted as a separate amount,
"Contract Pay (T)," on your paycheck. ("Day" on
page 6 of the Ratification Document is a typo.)
7. Will the salary-based contributions replace the
premium-based contribution now in the contract?
on Health Insurance
Yes. The current contract has a provision that will
10. How will the RAPS provision benefit teach-
require teachers to pay 2.5% of the PPO premium,
ers in the PPO?
if the PPO premium increases by 17% in one year.
There would be no premium share for the HMO.
RAPS is the abbreviation for radiology, anesthesiology,
This provision, which would cause adverse selection,
will be eliminated in the new contract.
Its not uncommon for a patient at an in-network hos-
pital, with an in-network attending physician, to receive
8. What are the health benefits of teachers in
RAPS services out-of-network without the patient's
comparable school districts?
When bargaining health benefits, our team must
This provision will protect PPO participants from
consider a fundamental difference between MPS and
unexpected payments to RAPS providers.
other districts With rare exceptions, other school
districts do not have a lower-cost HMO option.
11. Who will benefit from the increase in the
incentive for completing voluntary programs?
♦Besides Milwaukee, only one of ten largest districts
Employees who complete voluntary programs in the
in Wisconsin has an HMO option - Madison.
Goodhealth plan prior to Decemer 15, 2010 will
receive a $350 contribution into their health reimburse-
♦Only one neighboring district has an HMO option
ment by February 28, 2011. The increase from $250
to $350 will apply in future Goodhealth program
district in the state offers only an HMO.
12. What changes were bargained in the PPO in-
♦The vast majority of districts have only one health
plan - a PPO, commonly through the WEA Trust.
The PPO in-network deductible (single) will decrease
♦The PPO in other districts is very comparable to
by $25, from $100 to $75. The family (of three of
our district's negotiated PPO. Both PPOs provide
more) deductible total will also decrease
comprehensive coverage and benefits, along with the
down from $300. RD-8&9
13. How does the family deductible work?
♦Teachers in most districts have paid a portion of
their health insurance cost for many years.
When both members of a two-person family each
reach $75 single deductible, the family’s total deduct-
♦The most common method for teacher contributions
is a percentage of the premium cost - 5% or more.
For a family of three or more, the $225 total will be
♦On average, the dollar amount teachers in other
met when three members each reach the $75 deductible.
districts already pay is the same as amount MPS
Here's an example for a family of five. When three
teachers will pay as a percentage of salary.
different family members - say you, your spouse and
one of your three sons - each meet the $75 deduct-
9. Do health benefits in comparable districts
ible amount, the $225 family amount will be met.
support the alternative of arbitration?
In this example, you would pay no deductible for your
No. Our team considered the facts above and
other two sons. RD-8&9
determined the current status of comparable districts
14. What changes were bargained in out-of-net-
Coinsurance Provisions Percentage Shares
work deductible amounts?
- PPO pays 90% in-network - you pay 10%.
The deductible for single coverage will increase to
- PPO pays 70% out-of-network - you pay 30%.
Annual Coinsurance Maximum
For family coverage, the deductible will increase to
- In-network - you pay up to $200 (single)
$500 (from $300). RD-8&9
- In-network - you pay up to $600 (family of 3)
- Out-of-network - you pay up to $1,000 (single)
15. How will the out-of-network deductible work
- Out-of-network - you pay up to $2,800 (family)
for family coverage?
19. Why did our team bargain a new dispute
If the $326 deductible (single) is paid by one family
member, any combination of $174 in payments for the
rest of the family will meet family deductible ($500).
Under the 2007-09 contract, if you are improperly
denied benefits, you can appeal to the PPO adminis-
For example, suppose your spouse reaches the $326
trator (Aetna). If Aetna does not grant your appeal,
single amount. When out-of-network payments for
you would have to file a grievance. Your appeal
other family members add up to $174 - for instance
- $60 for you, $34 for your son, and $80 for your
would finally be decided by a labor arbitrator, not a
daughter - your family deductible will be met.
The PPO deductibles are outlined below:
Our union's negotiators bargained a new appeal
process in which a panel of independent medical
professionals will make the final decision.
This change will be a deterent against improper deni-
20. Will changing the administration or the
16. What change was bargained in the out-of-net-
present plan affect teachers in the HMO?
work coinsurance percentage?
No. This change merely eliminates UHC's as a middle
The coinsurance percentage for employees will increase
man at a cost savings to MPS. RD-17
to 30%. Currently, employees pay 20%. RD-8&9
21. Will the HMO have a deductible?
17. What changes were bargained in the out-of-
network coinsurance maximum?
Yes. For the first time, HMO participants will have
a deductible - $50 (single) and $150 family, based on
For single coverage, the coinsurance maximum will
3 members x $50. RD-17
be increase to $1,100 (from $500). RD-8&9
22. How will the 3-tier structure for prescription
For family coverage, the coinsurance maximum will
drug benefits work?
Medco will administer the 3-tier program for the PPO
18. How will the out-of-network coinsurance
The best way to explain the 3-tier payment structure
Here's an example. Suppose you had a $45,000
is with an example of how Medco will implement it
surgery at the Mayo Clinic. The 30% coinsurance
rate for out-of-network surgery, applied to the bill, is
Fexofenadine is a "generic
" drug used to treat
$13,500. However, employees pay only up to the
coinsurance maximum, $1,100 for an individual.
The bottom line: You pay $1,100 and the PPO pays
Medco gets a better discount on one of the
"brand name" allergy treatment drugs - Clarinex. Such
drugs are in Medco's "Preferred
: For the initial Q & A
details on how the out-of-network family coinsurance
Medco does not have a good discount on
maximum will work were not available. An additional
Allegra, also a brand name drug used to treat
Q & A
will be at mtea.org as soon as possible.
allergies. The most expensive drugs in Medco Tier 3
are called "Non-Preferred
The chart below shows the out-of-pocket costs for
27. What is the purpose of the domestic partner
the 3-tier drug plan.
The purpose is to provide a member who has a
domestic partner with the same insurance and sick
You pay $3 You pay $6
leave benefits as a married member. RD-19-21
28. Will the new contract provide parity for a
You pay 10% You pay $30
member who has a domestic partner?
Although parity is the intent, the contract complies with
You pay 20% You pay $60
the applicable laws. For instance, a member who
decides to obtain health insurance coverage for a
domestic partner will annually pay taxes on the imputed
23. Were any changes bargained which will affect
value of the benefit. RD-9-12
29. Are domestic partner benefits consistent with
Yes, just one. Retirees in the HMO will no longer
the principles and policies of our union?
have vision coverage. The change will occur on the
date UHC starts to administer the PPO. RD-18
Yes. Our union's constiution states: "The MTEA shall
not discriminate in any way against people because of
24. What does the negotiating note on Early
their race, national origin, age, gender, color, disabil-
Retirement Reinsurance Program mean?
ity, marital status, sexual orientation, or creed."
One of the initial benefits in implementing the federal
30. Are the details set to implement health insur-
health care law is that MPS will be reimbursed by the
ance coverage for a member's domestic partner?
federal government for claims of retirees, age 55 - 64.
The amount will be 80% of the claims between
The amount of imputed income for tax purposes
$15,000 and $90,000 for the retirees in this group.
has not been determined. After ratification, this
acturial question needs to be resolved as soon as
The money cannot be put into the district's general
fund. The parties have agreed to discuss how these
earnings to the district will be spent. RD-18
25. Why did our union's team negotiate the
changes in rebid provision?
1. Why was a labor management committee for
Our team wanted to establish a strong incentive for
UHC to provide quality service for PPO participants
- as it has in the HMO locally for several years.
The purpose is to establish a defined process for
addressing a wide variety of unresolved issues, such as
The new language allows our union to require the
the hiring of athletic directors and coaches. RD-22
Board to rebid the PPO. If we raise demonstrable
and substantive deficencies in claims processing and/
2. Was the outside experience credit for school
or other performance areas, UHC would not be
social workers improved?
Yes. School social workers hired on or after July 1,
An annual audit was added to the rebid provision.
2010 will have up to seven years of outside experi-
This is another proactive step to maintain quality
ence in determining their salary rate. RD-23
service, minimize claims processing problems, and
reduce costs. RD-18
3. What changes were bargained for school
26. How is "domestic partner" defined?
Our team bargained for overdue improvements for
The tentative contract agreement provides a precise
school nurses - such as restructuring their salary sched-
definition. (See page 19 of the Ratification Document
ule to be competitive in attracting and retaining highly
- item "(c) 1-7" in the left-hand column.)
qualified nurses. RD-24
A teacher's domestic partner could be either the same
or opposite gender. RD-19
21. Is there an agreement to insure that UHC
will cover services which Aetna covers?
Yes. The body of the letter from the district to our
union on this vital point is reprinted below.
The recession and the pervasive attacks on teachers
The language is rather technical, but the meaning is
and teacher unions nationally and locally are powerful
clear: What is covered by the PPO under Aetna's
forces, influencing all aspects of public education.
Contract bargaining is no exception.
1. Medical services, supplies, or drugs shall continue
In addition, other issues persistent for MPS such as:
to be covered under the plan or excluded from cov-
erage under the plan in accordance with the general
♦Inadequate and inequitable state funding –
exclusions set forth in the July 22, 2002 Memoran-
causing an unfair burden on city taxpayers.
dum of Understanding, incorporated by reference in
Part III, Section B(1)(a)(4). Examples of services and
♦Rising health care costs which significantly
supplies that shall be covered in accordance with the
foregoing include, but are not limited to:
♦The possibility of legislation that would further
restrict our district's authority to obtain needed
•Medical services and supplies provided out of the
revenues. The financial situation would become
•Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome arid
•Chiropractic care for children and the treatment of
Nothing in this letter is intended to create coverage
where none existed before the change from Aetna to
2. That the district has confirmed that the local
hospitals currently in the Aetna PPO network are also
in the UHC PPO networks and will be maintained
through the implementation of UHC as the PPO TPA.
The district also agrees that it will use its best
efforts to ensure that the mixture of local in-network
hospitals continues to be maintained.
The Residency Requirement?
Many members have raised questions about the MPS
contractual requirement that teachers must reside in the
city. For over 30 years, this requirement has been
an obstacle, unique to MPS
, to attracting and
retaining highly qualified teachers.
Our union's teacher bargaining team pressed this
issue. However, the School Board's negotiators made
it clear that a voluntary agreement would not be
reached as long as the residency requirement was on
To resolve the residency requirement in contract
bargaining still depends on five School Board
members voting in support of changing it.
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