MPIPHP Qualifying Period Assistance and Hardship Premium Waiver
The AMPTP and the Management Directors of the MPI Benefits Committee have agreed with the Labor Directors to the following; for those participants in the qualifying period that ended Sept. 19th. In addition, you will see the agreed upon waiver of participant dependent premium through the end of the year.
First, we addressed health care coverage for the group whose entire Qualifying Period fell within the shutdown period (March 26, 2020 through September 19, 2020). Obviously, many people were unable to earn any work hours during this period. Therefore, we are giving greater relief to this group than any other group (and, assuming the volume of work continues to increase, we expect that to be true for the future as well – that is, we expect that lesser relief will be necessary for groups whose Qualifying Periods end in October, November, December, etc. because of the increase of work). This will result in 98% of the continuing eligible in this period maintaining their insurance.
The Bargaining Parties and Benefit Committee agreed that any Continuing Eligible in the Qualifying Period ending September 19, 2020 who has at least one (1) worked or banked hour but less than 400 hours will be given no-cost COBRA for the Benefit Period beginning November 1, 2020
We were able to convince the employers to provide for a premium waiver to those truly in need of it – that is, those who had little opportunity to work and, therefore, lack the funds necessary to pay a premium. We came up with the following, which will apply to premiums for September through December of 2020. Our hope is that, with work increasing, we will not have to issue premium waivers after December 2020. The new criteria for a premium waiver are as follows:
The MPIHP will provide a waiver of premiums to participants with payments due in September-December who worked fewer than fifty (50) hours in the two (2) month period prior to when the premium payment is due, specifically:
- Participants with a premium payment due in September who worked fewer than fifty (50) hours in July and August;
- Participants with a premium payment due in October who worked fewer than fifty (50) hours in August and September;
- Participants with a premium payment due in November who worked fewer than fifty (50) hours in September and October; and
- Participants with a premium payment due in December who worked fewer than fifty (50) hours in October and November.
If a participant worked fewer than fifty (50) hours in the applicable two (2) month period but has already paid his/her premium, the participant will receive a credit for such payment for the future.
If a participant receives a premium waiver but later has more hours reported on his/her behalf, as a result of a lag in reporting or late reported hours, causing the participant to exceed the fifty (50) hour threshold, MPIHP will not recoup the waived premium payments.
The above agreement aids those in the industry that are most in need. The eligibility extension means that 98% of the eligible in this qualifying period will maintain no cost coverage. In a normal month we lose an average of 5% of the eligible participants. The range is 3%-7%. While we anticipate that each subsequent qualifying period will require less assistance, it is likely to be many months before we are in a position to cease assistance to members because of the employment impact that the COVID crisis has had on our members.
Patric J. Abaravich