November 16, 2012
Dear Flight Attendants,
First, on behalf of the American Airlines Flight Attendants, I would like to extend a warm welcome to the final group of furloughed Flight Attendants still holding recall rights who are finally returning to the line. Effective today, 122 recalled FAs reported to either LGA, DCA, MIA or DFW. Additionally, in March, we will see the first of 1,500 new hires among our ranks. It was reported that 20,000 people applied for AA’s FA positions during the last week. This is a testament to the flight attendant profession and the unions who promote and protect our careers.
Turning to a subject we are all too familiar with, I want to address the AMR bankruptcy and a possible merger with US Airways. Over the past two months, we have been in a “quiet period” regarding AA’s bankruptcy in the wake of the non-disclosure agreement entered into between American and US Airways. This has caused a great deal of frustration for our membership, me included. We are learning as we go that this unprecedented process is putting our membership, and all of American’s employees, in what feels like a very unfair position in terms of access to information. I hope that this message can provide some reassurance and allow you to focus on family and loved ones as we enter the holiday season.
As of today, American and its creditors continue to examine strategic alternatives (aka a potential merger) and the Company’s stand-alone business plan. At this time, I can only say that the process is on-going and progress is being made. Please understand that as a member of the Unsecured Creditor’s Committee, APFA is bound by confidentiality provisions that preclude the Union from commenting publicly – at this time – on the process that is underway. As difficult as it is, I must ask for your continued patience. American retains its exclusive ability to propose a plan of reorganization until January 28, 2012, and it is also possible that the Company could seek additional time if it has good cause for an extension. With that, the ultimate timing of American’s exit from bankruptcy cannot be estimated at this point.
In the meantime, the negotiating team is finalizing the language of the LBFO to make certain Flight Attendants are protected as much as possible. Additionally, the team is closely examining the APA’s Tentative Agreement to quantify its improvements and, if applicable, ensure that our contract is adjusted accordingly, per the language in our “Me, Too” letter. You should receive the latest installment of Skyword Express beginning next month, which will include a great deal of information regarding important changes to the contract. Details will follow, but please watch for that in your mailbox..
This process has required Flight Attendants to take a huge leap of faith and, as always, our membership has risen to the challenge. Throughout this bankruptcy, our union has been the driving force. Our message has been clear and our strategy consistent. I appreciate your trust and your support and I promise that I will do everything I can to make sure the end result is worth all the stress.
As we enter the busy holiday season, I ask that you continue to provide the exceptional level of professionalism our passengers have come to expect. More importantly though, I ask that you take some time to relax and enjoy your friends and family. After such a difficult year, we all deserve that much.
Health Benefits Deadline – November 16, 2012, 11:59 PM Central Time
Don’t forget to submit your Benefits Enrollment no later than Friday, November 16, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. Central Time. If you have any questions about the options AA is offering, you can initiate a “Chat Session” via Jetnet between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Central Time Friday, or contact the APFA Health Department via phone 817.540.0108 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following are Q&As from the APFA Health Department for those of you who still have questions about or are undecided on your Health Benefits’ selection.
Q: How to calculate what the deductible will be?
Please note: the numbers below are confusing because the chart provided by AA only shows the deductible amounts for Single (Employee Only) or a Family but not for the Employee plus One family member. The chart provided by AA should have reflected Individual and Family amounts, as these are not based on the level of coverage (e.g., employee only, employee + family). The examples below provide a better illustration of how the deductibles work:
Standard Option / In Network:
Employee Only – $750 (because one person is covered, the individual deductible of $750 applies)
Employee + Spouse/DP or One Child – $1500 (in this case each person will be responsible for meeting their individual deductible, and the family deductible will not apply)
Employee + Family – $2250 (in this case, once three family members have each met their individual deductible, the family deductible will have been met) It is important to note that as each family member meets his/her individual deductible, that member will have coinsurance apply
Value Option / In Network:
Employee Only – $300 (individual deductible)
Employee + Spouse/DP or One Child – $600 (in this case each person will be responsible for meeting their individual deductible, and the family deductible will not apply)
Employee + Family – $900 (in this case, once three family members have each met their individual deductible, the family deductible will have been met) It is important to note that as each family member meets his/her individual deductible, that member will have coinsurance apply
Q: How to calculate the OOP Max?
The calculation for the OOP Max works the same way as it does for the deductible based on EE Only, EE + One, or EE + Two or More. Here is an example using the Value Option.
Value Option / In Network
Employee Only – $1750
Employee + Spouse/DP or One Child – $3500 (in this case each individual will be responsible for meeting their individual OOP Max, and the family OOP Max will not apply)
Employee + Family – $4375 (in this case, once the out-of-pocket expenses of all family members combined equal $4375, the family OOP Max will be met) It is important to note that once a family member meets his/her individual OOP maximum, that family member will have claims processed at 100%
Q: Is there a way to get an idea of what my costs will be?
The best way to get a ballpark idea of what your costs will be is to:
– Review the Plan provisions – How much are the deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance?
– Add up the monthly premiums that you will be paying
– Input your health care costs from last year, or an estimate of your costs for the services you will need in 2013
– Run the numbers for each plan and decide which best suits your needs
You can also use the Benefits Cost Estimator tool that is available on www.my.aa.com.
Q: My doctor is not in a network. Is there a plan that allows me to go to an out-of-network provider with no penalty?
Unfortunately, there is no longer a plan that has no penalty for going out-of-network. Through the end of 2012, this is still an option if you are currently covered under the Standard Medical Plan, so it might be a good idea to schedule your out-of-network services before the end of the year if you have this coverage. Check and see if your doctor is in-network under all three claim administrators. Although your doctor might not be in-network under your state’s preferred vendor, he/she may be in-network under a different network administrator.
Q: What if my spouse also works for AA and has been covered under my insurance?
If you are an American Airlines employee married to another American Airlines employee, you have the choice to enroll in medical, dental and vision coverage separately or as a dependent of one or the other. It will probably cost you less to enroll separately so be sure to compare the costs of separate vs. joint coverage. You will have separate Health Reimbursement or Health Incentive Accounts regardless of whether you select separate or joint coverage.
Q: Which plan is the PPO and Which is the POS?
The old Point-of-Service plan actually became a PPO medical option a few years back. Although it was changed from a POS/Managed Care type of arrangement, the name of the option was not updated to reflect that.
– The current 2012 Standard Medical Plan is what is referred to as a passive PPO. That is, there is no difference in coinsurance or deductible based on whether you use an In-Network or Out-of Network provider.
– The current 2012 Value and Value Plus options are considered active PPOs (Preferred Provider Organization). That is they do have a deductible/coinsurance differential for In-Network vs. Out-of-Network.
– In 2013, both the Standard Medical Option and the Value Option will be active PPOs. There will no longer be a plan that allows employees the freedom to choose an Out-of Network provider and receive the same level of coverage as they do when they choose an In-Network provider.
Q: Can I still elect a health care FSA?
Health Care FSA accounts will still be an option in 2013, along with the new Health Accounts that are linked to each plan.
– If you choose the Standard Option or the Value Option, you can elect to deposit up to $2500 into a traditional Health Care FSA. These funds can be used for eligible medical, RX, vision and dental expenses.
– If you choose the Core Option, you can elect to deposit up to $2500 into a “Limited Purpose FSA” which can be used for dental and vision expenses only.
Q: If I elect a Health Care FSA in conjunction with one of the other Health Savings accounts, is there a way to control which funds are used first?
If you are covered under the Standard Option or the Value Option and elect “Automatic Reimbursement” the funds for any medical expenses will be automatically reimbursed as they are incurred from your FSA before the HRA or HIA. This is because the FSA funds are “use it or lose it” and do not roll to the next plan year. The funds in the HRA / HIA / HSA will roll over as long as you don’t change plans. If, for example, you would like to use the funds in your HRA or HIA for specific medical expenses, and save your FSA money for dental and vision expenses, you can elect “Manual Reimbursement” in order to control which funds are used first from your FSA.
Q: I am confused by the prescription drug coverage – any guidance?
– Under both the Standard Option and the Value Option you will not need to meet your deductible before your RX coverage kicks in. Therefore, prescription drug costs do not apply to the deductible under Standard and Value Options.
– The costs for prescription drugs that are paid by the member are applied to the OOP max under both Standard and Value options.
– Under the Core option, members pay the full discounted price for medications until they have reached their deductible. Thus, most RX expenses are applied to the deductible under Core Option, with the exception of preventive medications which can be purchased paying the coinsurance portion of the cost without meeting the deductible.
– If you take long-term (maintenance) medications you will be encouraged to move your prescription to mail order to keep your costs down. This provision applies to both the Standard Option and the Value Option. You will pay 50% of the retail drug cost if you don’t move your prescription to mail order after your initial purchase plus two refills. You can order a 90-day supply which means fewer refills and you can make an arrangement with Express Scripts, formerly Medco, to have your medications shipped automatically. Visit Express Scripts to determine if your medication is subject to this requirement.
– The new medical options will not require any filing of paper claims for prescriptions. Your OOP costs will be shared between Express Scripts and the Health Plan administrator. Once you have met your OOP max, the pharmacy will know, and eligible prescription drug expenses will be covered at 100% with the following exceptions:
· If you select a brand name drug when a generic is available, you will still be responsible for the cost difference between brand and generic
· If you choose to purchase long-term (maintenance) medications at a retail pharmacy after the third purchase, you will be responsible for 50% of the drug cost
– In cases where Express Scripts has reviewed and approved documentation from a physician (as well as Rx history) and makes the determination that a member must use a brand name drug in lieu of a generic, the provision requiring the member to pay the difference in cost is not applied. Authorization must be approved by Express Scripts and may need to be renewed each year.
Q: I did not enroll in Long Term Care Insurance when it was first offered, but now I think it might be a good idea. It does not show up on the AA benefits election form, so how do I enroll?
If you are interested in applying for coverage in the Long Term Care Insurance Plan, you must contact MetLife at 1-888-526-8495 by December 3 to request an enrollment kit. To be considered for coverage, the completed form must be received by MetLife on or before January 2, 2013.
AmericanAirlines + US Airways
“Our Future Depends On It”
APFA National Communications Coordinator