Unilever Health & Welfare Plan for Hourly Employees in Suffolk, VA
Unilever and UFCW Local 400 have begun the collective bargaining discussions required following the vote to unionize on 08/26/2016. While no contract is in place between Unilever and UFCW Local 400, both parties recognized the necessity of acting now on health care for 2017 while contract negotiations continue between the two parties.
As a result of negotiations, the Company and the Union have agreed that the hourly employees of Suffolk be excluded from the UNICare annual enrollment process for 2017 which is going on now. The Company and the Union have further agreed that the medical and dental plans and employee contributions which were in place for 2016 remain unchanged for 2017 or until a new health and welfare program is negotiated.
As a result of the short time frame before January 1, 2017, an open enrollment to add dependents or change health or dental options will take place with paper enrollment forms in early to mid-December 2016. This requires Unilever to offer a separate Annual Enrollment period to the hourly employees of Suffolk and the exact dates for that will be announced shortly.
Since this is occurring so late in the year, it requires extensive amount of work on the part of Unilever’s claims administrators (UnitedHealthcare, CVS Caremark and Metlife). They have all configured their systems to manage the 2017 UNICare plans and were not prepared to maintain the 2016 plan designs. The administrators are currently working to set up the 2016 plan designs for the hourly employees of Suffolk but have advised Unilever that the work will not be finalized by January 1, 2017.
What does this mean?
A glitch will occur January 1, 2017. The extension of the 2016 benefits in health care and dental will not be able to be implemented by the plan administrator and communicated to health care providers until sometime later in the first quarter of the year.
When the 2016 benefits are put back into place, adjustments will be made and providers will be paid under the 2016 benefit plan retroactive to January 1, 2017. This means that if you go to a health care provider in the first quarter of the year, the doctor or other provider will have the incorrect information for your coverage.
This will mean that your doctor or other health provider may see coverage showing you owing additional out of pocket expenses. This is because claims incurred between January 1st and as late as March 31, 2017 will initially be paid using the 2017 plan rules that were established for the 2017 UNICare plans. When the current 2016 plan is fully reinstated by the end of the first quarter of 2017, all claims will be reprocessed and doctors and health care providers will be paid any additional funds they are owed under the terms of the plan.
UFCW Local 400 and Unilever hope to provide a letter from the plan administrator outlining the differences between what the providers will see beginning January 1, 2017 and what the actual benefit will be retroactive to January 1, 2017.
Payroll deductions in 2017 for health insurance and dental insurance will remain at the same rates that were in effect during 2016.
UFCW Local 400 and Unilever will continue to work to minimize any disruption to employee health care for 2017. We realize that this can be confusing until the correct plan terms are implemented. Additional communications to keep you informed and up to date will be forthcoming.
Please refer to the attached summary of your 2016 Medical and Dental plans. If you would like a copy of the full 2016 Summary Plan description of your benefits, see the plant Human Resources department.
If you should have questions regarding your 2017 health plan coverage, please contact the plant Human Resources department or Union Representative Kayla Mock.