Anchorage Assembly Proposal to Move Union Workers to Obamacare by 2015

Mallory Peebles Mallory Peebles, Crime and Law Enforcement, Natural Resources and Parks Reporter, Fill-in Anchor, mpeebles@ktuu.com
POSTED: 11:23 PM AKDT Nov 01, 2013 
20131101 - Anchorage Assembly Proposal to Move Union Workers to Obamacare by 2015 (2)
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

The Anchorage Assembly will consider a new resolution that could put municipal union workers into medical insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.

Assemblyman Bill Starr crafted the resolution, which he says will help save the municipality millions of dollars.

Starr says just this year the municipality paid $5-million in excess costs because the current plans are geared towards families, but many employees are single.

"Initially, that's got a lot of friction in it, but quite frankly we have Cadillac plans at the Municipality we have trouble keeping up with year after year," said Starr. "I think there's some stability in the plans offered under the Obamacare offerings."

Currently, seven of nine major union contracts will soon expire and negotiations are set to begin.

Starr’s proposal would apply to city union contracts when they come up for negotiation and wouldn't take effect until the end of December 2014. According to the proposal, the city would pay for insurance coverage for union workers under Obamacare, instead of providing policies like they have now. The city would also pay 25% of the premium costs for dependents.

Channel 2 reached out to numerous union representatives who said they don't know enough about the proposed resolution to comment.

Derek Hsieh, President of Anchorage Police Department Employee Association, says current healthcare plans have been successful.

"I actually don't know much about the Affordable Care Act; I think I'm probably like most Americans here," said Hsieh. "I've heard a lot of people on both sides of the issue arguing about it but I think the devils always in the details."

Starr's proposal also includes collective bargaining guidelines and a limit of three years for contracts.