Insurance / Retirement
Section 30 of our contract outlines our contractual pension & 401K benefits. 1-800-MY-DELTA is now your company contact for all retirement related questions. Please feel free to also call your Local AFA Officers if you have questions about your contractual rights in retirement or you feel the company is violating provisions of Section 30 in any way.
Section 29 of our contract outlines our contractual medical, dental, life, etc. benefits. For 2010 the contractual medical benefit option is "PPO Option B". All other plans are governed by company policy and not by this contractual language. Your company contact for benefit questions is now 1-800-MY-DELTA. If you feel the company is violating Section 29 or you have contractual questions, please contact your Local AFA Officers.
Latest Insurance & Retirement News
» OPEN ENROLLMENT UPDATES
The Open Enrollment window for 2011 benefit election is now open and scheduled to run through Thursday, November 18 for active and inactive employees. (Retiree and Survivor Open Enrollment was postponed until Wednesday, November 3 - see below.) Many members have requested additional information and guidance in choosing a health plan for the coming year. In order to be eligible for important NWA Contractual benefits, including subsidized retiree/survivor medical, you MUST be enrolled in the plan defined by SECTION 29 of our Agreement, PPO Option B. This option is the only choice that can be defended by our legal grievance process in the event of violations of its terms, or circumstances of reduced participant benefits or coverage. NOTE: Delta offers the similar PPO Option A to non-contract employees, but it must not be mistaken for our contractually protected plan, PPO Option B. Flight Attendants should carefully review all available options and choose according to their individual and/or family needs.
The contract and non-contract options each provide different levels of coverage, different deductibles, and sometimes different providers, plan to plan. As you research and compare, be sure to familiarize yourself with the provisions in CBA - SECTION 29. Numerous additional resources—print material, informational meetings, online brochures, Q and As, webinars, and a health plan evaluator tool on DeltaNet—are available to assist you. If you regularly use your prescription coverage and are considering a non-contract plan for its lower monthly premium, be sure to compare prescription drugs lists under each plan. Despite appearances, they are not the same – a change in plan could lead to a large increase in out-of-pocket prescription costs. Compare dental options side by side, as well, if that is a benefit you expect to use for more than routine preventive work. Click HERE for the Summary Plan Description (“Health Care Benefits Handbook”) for all 2011 benefit plans and HERE for 2011 Health Care Premiums.
If you do not make an active election, insurance for next year will default to your current coverage in most cases. We recommend all members double-check their coverage and confirm default elections are accurate, even if you don’t wish to make changes. Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Savings Accounts do not automatically roll over to the following year. Participants must re-enroll now for the 2011 benefit year.
PACKAGE 1 – DELTA’S NON-CONTRACT MEDICAL PLANS
Non-contract medical plans include: PPO Option A, Health Plan Hawaii, Health Reimbursement Accounts (Gold and Silver HRAs) and Health Savings Accounts (Diamond and Ruby HSAs). The HRA and HSA are also called Account Based Health Medical Options. A non-contract option may make sense for some of our members, and we respect your ability to decide what works best for you. However, we want to be clear that they do not provide the same coverage and eligibility as the contractually required insurance in “Package 2,” below. BE SURE TO LOOK AT PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION LISTS, AS WELL. NOTE: If you elect options in Package 1, you will lose your right to many of your legally binding SECTION 29 contractual provisions.
PACKAGE 2 – OUR REQUIRED CONTRACT OPTION
The options in Package 2 include PPO Option B, with covered services and eligibility as outlined in SECTION 29. This year the company added a plan option in Package 2 for those who did not have adequate PPO network coverage this year: “PPO Option B Out Of Area Plan,” or “OOA.” This plan will be of greatest relevance to those living in Alaska or a few other remote locations where network coverage is not well established. In fact, if your official residence is in one of these locations, the Open Enrollment system will default to an OOA plan.
NOTE: PPO Option B OOA plan appears to offer an improvement in coverage and reimbursement for some flight attendants living in certain out-of-network locations. However, it may not provide the level of reimbursement required by our contract and could make any health coverage you obtain outside your home area significantly more expensive.
Highlights negotiated in our contractual PPO Option B plan include:
** Deductible max of $350 ind/$700 family
** Family coverage for spouse and children of a deceased flight attendant at active rates
** Out of pocket max of $2,000 ind/$4,000 family
** In-network covered at 80/20
** Out-of-network mainly covered at 70/30
** Prescription drug out-of-pocket max of $1,000
** Generic drugs $15/preferred brand drug $30/non-preferred brand $45
** Mail order option for 90 day prescription supply - at even lower cost
** NWA retirees eligible for subsidized coverage under this plan (50% of premium or $207 per month for single coverage for 2011)
** No lifetime maximum benefit
If you have further questions, please contact your Local AFA representatives.
HEALTH CARE REFORM
The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress earlier this year provides for expanded insurance coverage to children/young adults, up to age 26. Previously, adult children of employees lost NWA/Delta group medical coverage upon reaching their 19th birthday, unless they were full-time students, or qualified for a limited exception. By law, Delta is now required to offer coverage to non-students, as well, until their 26th birthday, unless medical coverage is available to them through their own employment. This is a significant benefit improvement for families available to all Delta medical plans now, due entirely to the Affordable Care Act. Adult children who have previously “aged out” of company insurance and now qualify due to the Act may be re-enrolled during Open Enrollment. Several other improvements have been worked into 2011 plans as a result of Health Care Reform and/or legislative changes, including the removal of Delta’s previous lifetime maximum benefits cap on non-contract plans, and removal of a separate deductible for Mental Health/Chemical Dependency.
NOTE: CHANGES FOR RETIREES, SURVIVORS
Potential Impact on All Flight Attendants
Delta recently announced plans to delay the 2011 Open Enrollment window for our retirees and survivors and the new Retiree and Survivor Open Enrollment window now coincides directly with the outcome of our representational election. The NMB election closes at 2:00 p.m. November 3rd and the Retiree & Survivor Open Enrollment will now start on November 3rd and run through November 24th. It appears that Retirees may not be able to see complete 2011 enrollment options until that time.
PMDL Flight Attendants do not have a guaranteed right to retiree medical, nor do they receive a premium subsidy to offset their costs. The cost difference between what PMNW retirees and PMDL retirees pay for medical care is many hundreds of dollars per month. Affordable retiree medical insurance is protected as part of our Contract. Retiree medical is an extremely valuable benefit, recognizing flight attendants’ years of service to the Company. Retaining this benefit not only affects retired flight attendants, but those contemplating retirement before age 65. It keeps seniority active, as well, by encouraging movement from the top end of the seniority list. Without a yes vote on November 3rd for a Contract, these benefits—and every other part of our Agreement protecting you—can be changed at the Company’s whim. This sudden change in the timing of Retiree Open Enrollment could be evidence that this is just the first step.
Vote Yes for Representation and a Contract for our future.Posted by Belea on 10/21 at 07:32 AM
» Enrollment, Benefit Complaints, & Our Pension
2011 OPEN ENROLLMENT - WHAT’S OUR CONTRACT PLAN AGAIN?
Open Enrollment for the 2011 benefit year will begin Wednesday, October 20th and run through Thursday, November 18th. It is important to remember that PPO Option B is the only medical plan covered in SECTION 29 of our contract. Everyone’s needs are different, and only you can decide which plan is right for you and your family. However, PPO Option B is the only medical plan offering all of our legally binding contractual provisions, including subsidized retiree coverage, deductible limitations and out of pocket maximums, agreed to in Section 29. PPO Option B is the only plan that AFA can contractually enforce and defend via the grievance process if problems occur down the road. The company has scheduled Open Enrollment sessions throughout the system, and information is posted on DeltaNet, as well. Click HERE for the most up-to-date Summary Plan Description (“Health Care Benefits Handbook”) for all benefit plans for 2011. 2011 HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS, did go up, but our contract caps that increase at a maximum 7% per year for both active employees and retirees.
For additional printable Open Enrollment information, click HERE.
RETIREE INSURANCE PREMIUMS - COMPANY CHART UNCLEAR
Please note the PREMIUMS listed for retirees in the Delta-provided chart can be misleading at first glance. Our contract requires the company to subsidize 50% of the contractual PPO Plan B medical insurance premiums for PMNW FAs who are at least age 55, with 23 years of service, when they retire. The company’s PREMIUM CHART does not take into account this subsidy, making it appear retirees pay more than they do. The contractual (PPO Option B plan) subsidized retiree premium is $207.60/month for single coverage - 50% of the premium. The $415.19/month on the chart is the rate for retirees with less than 23 years of service, who do not qualify for the subsidized rate. Delta retirees do not have a subsidized retiree plan or a contractual blended pool premium plan, and must pay full COBRA rates. The difference is literally hundreds of dollars per month.
ANOTHER REASON THE CONTRACT REALLY MATTERS HERE
Dozens of Retirees and Flight Attendants hoping to retire now or later have contacted us, concerned about the loss of our contractual company-subsidized plan should Delta flight attendants not retain AFA representation. Retiree benefits are sometimes misunderstood to be a “senior” issue, but this issue affects ALL seniority levels, regardless of age, and regardless of whether one expects to retire from the company, ever. Senior flight attendants can ill afford to retire without a reasonable retirement plan and affordable insurance. With fewer retirements, the seniority list stagnates. Relative seniority can stay the same for years on end—or even go backward—when attrition is only at the bottom of an ever-shrinking list.
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR BENEFIT COMPLAINT UPDATE
Posted by Webmaster on 10/07 at 07:58 PM
Some prospective retirees have reported receiving incorrect information from the Employee Service Center regarding our pension. Our PMNW pension is NOT subject to the Social Security offset PMDL flight attendants have. The terms of our pension are covered in Section 30 of our contract. While the outsourced ESC representatives may just be getting our plan confused with PMDL pension terms, Delta still has a legal responsibility to administer our pension plan correctly. There is no Social Security offset on our pension. Our pension is also protected by ERISA and by the Pension Protection Act.
» OPEN ENROLLMENT SET TO BEGIN, RETIREE INSURANCE AND BENEFIT CONCERNS
28 September 1010 - Annual Open Enrollment for the 2011 benefit year is set to run October 20 - November 18, and many insurance benefit publications are available on DeltaNet now for advance review. As usual, there is a tremendous volume of information to wade through in order to make the best, most informed choices for you and your family. AFA-CWA along with our benefits and legal staff will carefully review all information, continue to ADDRESS KNOWN INACCURACIES (see “The Scoop” and our Department of Labor COMPLAINT over last year’s error-riddled process), and make specific recommendations in the coming weeks. In short, PPO Plan B remains our contractual medical plan option, and is the only medical plan offering all of our legally binding provisions, including subsidized retiree coverage, contractual deductible limitations and out of pocket maximums, agreed to in Section 29 of our contract.
Dozens of Retirees and Flight Attendants hoping to retire in the foreseeable future have contacted us, concerned about the loss of our contractual company-subsidized plan should Delta flight attendants not retain AFA representation. Delta retirees do not have a subsidized retiree plan, and must pay full COBRA rates. For comparison,at age 55 with 23 years of service, a PMNW retiree pays contractually subsidized premiums of $207.60 per month for individual coverage or $448.14 for retiree plus spouse. (We are already challenging the retiree/spouse rate, as you maybe have read HERE.) Similar coverage at Delta costs $669.84 for individual or $1,245.20 monthly for retiree plus spouse. Read the fine print in Delta’s “On the Horizon” 2011 Healthcare Premiums chart on DeltaNet. A first glance at rates in the company chart can be misleading, in that they do not reflect the company-paid subsidy that is provided only in our contract. More information and clarification on retiree insurance will be covered in the coming weeks.
On a separate retiree note, several members hoping to retire have reported receiving serious misinformation from the Employee Service Center (ESC or MY-DELTA hotline), advising them they would be subject to the PMDL social security offset upon retirement. THIS IS NOT TRUE!! Pre-merger Northwest Flight Attendants will never be subject to the social security offset established under the PMDL pension plan that was frozen during bankruptcy. Our frozen defined benefit plan is entirely separate, and will remain so. If you have received similar misinformation from the ESC, contact us immediately with the details for follow-up.Posted by jrook on 09/30 at 08:54 AM
» Open Enrollment 2011, Health Care Reform , and Young Adult Coverage
September 2010 -
For months, we have made repeated attempts to meet with the company to discuss Open Enrollment for the 2011 benefit year, in order to prevent a repeat of the disorderly, error-riddled process we encountered last year. Ensuing benefit issues, as well as Delta’s lack of adequate action and response, led to THIS COMPLAINT being filed with the Department of Labor. After filing, Delta finally responded and provided basic information about their plan to improve the process this fall. You can view our notes from Delta’s 2011 Open Enrollment plan HERE.
The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress earlier this year provides for expanded insurance coverage to children/young adults, up to age 26. By law, Delta will be required to offer this option, and has announced it will be included in the upcoming Open Enrollment to become effective January 1, 2011. As this health care reform moves our way, a number of questions have arisen. In June, the company posted THIS FAQ on DeltaNet, answering many of the most common inquiries. On August 31st, they appended the original information slightly and posted THIS MEMO. Per Section 29 of our contract, our dependents receive medical coverage up to age 19 (or to 26 if a full time student). The new law expands upon that. Additional information about this and other changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act can be found at healthcare.gov.
Important highlights for the “Age 26” coverage— The basic requirement is that the individual under age 26 to be covered is your child - that’s it. Tax dependency does not matter, and it’s not necessary to be a student, single, living at home, with one exception. The one exception could be if the adult child has health insurance available from his or her own employment. So far, it appears there is no guidance on exceptions to this.Posted by Webmaster on 09/01 at 09:57 AM
» Retirement Board Meeting - ATL
October 7, 2010 - AFA & DAL Retirement Board Meeting - Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. AFA Retirement Board Members, AFA MEC/Committee Reps, and Legal/Benefits reps will meet with Delta in Atlanta to review our contractual pension fund per the related provisions in Section 30 of our contract.Posted by Webmaster on 08/23 at 12:33 PM
» AFA Enlists Department of Labor
August 2010 - The open enrollment process and ongoing benefit concerns have negatively impacted many of our fellow members and retirees and AFA representatives have worked tirelessly to ensure these issues were remedied. However, after months of insufficient response from management, we have taken an additional proactive measure and have filed a report with the U.S. Department of Labor. To read our complete filing to the DOL, click HERE.Posted by Webmaster on 08/09 at 05:49 PM
» A Note Regarding Dependent Coverage
July 2010 - The normal protocol may not have been followed, in some cases, by Delta’s Employee Service Center for those with dependents who turned or are approaching age 19 since January 1, 2010. The normal process provides that the Employee Service Center sends an employee a letter 60 days prior to his/her dependent’s 19th birthday instructing the employee to provide documentation to support continued coverage. There is a 90 day grace period following the dependent’s 19th birthday, and at the end of that period, medical, dental and travel benefits will be terminated. If you have a child approaching 19 or who turned 19 since the beginning of the year, AFA strongly recommends that you submit the required documentation to avoid any lapse in medical, dental or travel privileges. Flight Attendants will need to send a Family Status Change form and proof of full-time student enrollment to the Employee Service Center in the 90 day window to keep the child on dependent status. That form can be found on the Benefits Direct portion of the Deltanet. For those flight attendants whose dependent turned 19 more than 90 days ago but after January 1, 2010, we have been informed that the Employee Service Center will send a communication to everyone who was missed, explaining what they need to do to have their child listed as full time student for health insurance and/or travel purposes.Posted by jrook on 07/26 at 09:36 AM
» Retiree Badges
» 401K Changes – July 2010
Our new Delta 401(k) plan administrated by Fidelity mailed a booklet titled “Your Guide to the New Fund Lineup” to all Delta flight attendants participating in the Delta 401(k) plans. (link Guide to the New Fund)
The guide explains what we need to know and to do for the transfer of the PMNW 401(k) current funds in which your accounts are invested will be replaced with a new 27-fund lineup and recordkeeping will change from ING to Fidelity. These transfers will occur in July 2010 and this will allow us time to review the materials and make elections on how to invest our account balances. (link to Q&A)
AFA has obtained the Fidelity 401(k) contracts, as well as the ING contracts for review under ERISA. Our contractual provisions are found in Section 30 of our Collective Bargaining Agreement. (link section 30)
Fidelity login and Sign up webpage: www.netbenefits.com
Resources are available to you on DeltaNet under the Employee Connection section and you may call the Delta Service Center at Fidelity at 800-554-0262.
» Delta Adds To Pension Plan
April 9, 2010 - Delta announced earlier this year that the PMNW flight attendant pension plan dropped below 80% funding. The separate PMDL flight attendant pension plan funding had dropped even more dramatically to under 60%. Your MEC has requested a full review with our advisers of the PMNW AFA Flight Attendant Pension Plan, pursuant to Section 30 - Retirement of our NWA AFA CBA. Delta Adds to Pension FundsPosted by jrook on 04/09 at 09:41 AM
» No/Incorrect Benefits or Pension Checks? You Aren’t Alone
Some advice - call customer service reps (whether Delta ESC or plan administrators like United Healthcare, etc) a maximum of 3 times, then resort to written requests via US Mail and/or email. Click HERE for some common Delta Contact Information. Write to them detailing your problem, and request a written response detailing the resolution within a specified number of days. Be sure to document: dates, times, case numbers, etc. for the case record. If you can’t reach a resolution, please contact your Local AFA representatives for assistance.Posted by jrook on 02/19 at 12:44 PM
» New NWA AFA FMLA Task Force
» 2010 Delta Benefitsjrook on 10/21 at 05:45 PM
» Delta Changes Medical Plan Administrator - 2010
AFA has learned that Delta has chosen to leave Blue Cross/Blue Shield in 2010 and has selected United Health Care as our 2010 plan administrator. While we have experienced plan administrator changes in the past, we are fortunate that Section 29 - Insurance of our contract requires a minimum of a typical indemnity medical plan, outlines who and what is covered, and limits cost increases for both active employees and our retirees. Over the past couple of years Delta flight attendants lost their typical indemnity medical plan, and instead were given a choice of high deductible plans – an HRA or HSA. While the up-front payroll deductions for premiums for an HRA & HSA can be lower, the deductible and out-of-pocket costs of these types of plans can be onerous. For a comparison of current DL & NW medical plans, please click HERE. Following a vote for union representation, DL & NW flight attendants will negotiate our benefit choices, based upon our own priorities.Posted by jrook on 07/16 at 02:26 PM
» Pre-Merger Delta Flight Attendant Lawsuit Against Delta Air Lines For Pension Plan Amendment
On June 29, 2009, a single Delta flight attendant filed a class action lawsuit in US District Court (Northern District of Georgia) claiming violations of fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The lawsuit claims that the 8th amendment to the Delta Pension Plan, which was implemented by DAL on March 31, 2007, will reduce pension benefits by millions of dollars because of a change in the calculation of the Plan’s Social Security offset that affects some plan participants. You can read the DAL flight attendant’s claim against DAL HERE.
This case highlights several important points:
- The NWA Pension Plan does not have a Social Security Offset. Any action by DAL management to unilaterally change the Delta Pension Plan does not affect benefits under the NWA Pension Plan. As long as we have a contract, no change can be made to our pension plan without our consent.
- NWA flight attendants have a union to fight for us. We do not have to rely on one tenacious flight attendant to hire a lawyer to protect every flight attendant’s rights. Our dues provide us with a legal department and the means to hire outside experts when needed to assure that our rights are enforced and our benefits assured.
- Without a union, a legal voice at the bargaining table, we will be subject to “executive decisions” and will have no legal department to fight for us. Our right to negotiate better pension benefits will vanish and any chance to eliminate the Social Security offset in the Delta pension plan in the future will be lost.
- While ERISA secures benefits already accrued under a company’s retirement plan, it does nothing to help improve retiree benefits as the costs of retirement rise. That’s one huge advantage of maintaining a voice during future contract negotiations – having the right to negotiate benefits such as increased employer contributions to our Retirement Savings Plan (Section 30 – Retirement Plan Agreement) and continuation of and even improvements to retiree healthcare (Section 29 – Insurance).
These issues are critical to DAL and NWA flight attendants, many of whom retire before Medicare eligibility. Only a contract secures these benefits. IF YOU ARE NOT SITTING AT THE BARGAINING TABLE, YOU ARE ON THE MENU. - Submitted by Cheryl Magyar, Retired NWA DTW FAPosted by jrook on 07/16 at 01:57 PM
» 2009 Early Out Participants - Cobra Subsidy Update
Pre-merger Delta and Northwest flight attendants participating in the 2009 Early Out/55 Point Programs may be eligible to receive a 65% tax-free government subsidy to their premiums under COBRA. The U.S. Department of Labor has ruled that they would consider employees who elected to participate in our voluntary programs eligible for the ARRA COBRA subsidy, as long as they also meet the other eligibility requirements. The subsidy can be provided retroactively for those who have already left the company under the 2009 voluntary program. According to the Northwest Benefits Department, they are working on letters to employees who have already left under the voluntary programs, who did not apply for the ARRA subsidy. They are currently processing and mailing letters to anyone who applied for the ARRA subsidy, but was previously denied.Posted by jrook on 07/16 at 01:55 PM