The "significant changes in medical plans" announced Monday by the Star-Telegram amount to another pay cut and shifting more costs to employees.
Premiums are going up a whopping 30% for employee-only coverage and 19% for families on the most popular plan called Choice, which lets employees choose care in and out of the network.
Premiums will increase 29% (employee) and 23% (family) in an HMO-like plan, and 22% (employee) and 12% (family) in a bare-bones plan for routine care.
McClatchy will be paying only 76% of the premium. That compares to 80% when we were a Knight Ridder paper. BTW: 100% company-paid insurance was not unheard of 20 years ago at some papers. So employees will pay nearly 25% of the insurance bill.
The Aetna rep who described the changes most often used the word "increase" when discussing co-pays, deductibles and drug costs, adding that the higher premiums were needed to offset the higher costs.
The most telling part of the meeting was when one reporter who was irked by the huge hikes in premiums asked the rep how much higher the Star-Telegram's health bill was in the past year. Well, the flustered Aetna rep was knocked off her script and could only say, "I don't have that figure, but if you will leave me your business card, I'll get back to you."
Hmm. Methinks neither Aetna (which needs to make more profit to satisfy shareholders) or McClatchy (which mistakenly thinks it can cut its way to prosperity) wants you to know that number.
Just like publisher Gary Wortel. When he came on the scene a couple of years ago he gave a presentation to employees detailing the paper's compensation costs and downward trends in revenue. But when asked how much profit the paper made in the previous year (it was easily around $50 million) his response was: "We don't give out that information, but thanks for asking."