In the latest POAM Podcast Radio Show, Police Officers Association of Michigan Director of Member Services Ed Jacques and POAM General Counsel Frank Guido discuss the importance of three public acts: PA 152, PA 63 and PA 54. All of these public acts passed by the Michigan State Legislature directly affect not only POAM members, but many other workers throughout the state as well.
Public Act 152, or the Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act, is a statute that allows an employer to implement either the “hard cap” limit or an “80/20” premium cost sharing for employees. And while that part of the act is clear, there are questions about when the act is actually to be implemented by employers. Guido and Jacques both point out the ambiguity of PA 152’s language. The statute refers to the beginning of the “coverage year” as when employers can start utilizing this legislation. But when that coverage year starts is up for debate.
POAM’s official position is that a coverage year does not begin until a health insurance plan is renewed with a health care provider. Many POAM members’ health care plans are not to be renewed until either July 1 or Oct. 1 of each year, which means that this statute would not be applicable until then. And POAM isn’t the only organization that feels this way. The Michigan Department of Treasury also agrees with our position, as stated by their Public Act 152 FAQ, which is available on the POAM website. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan and the office of Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette have also released statements in agreement. We have filed more than 25 unfair label practice charges against PA 152, as well as two test-case litigation cases.
Another very important act affecting POAM members is Public Act 54. This statute allows employers to pass on the cost of any health care cost increases incurred after a collective bargaining agreement has expired onto the employees. In essence, this means that once a POAM member’s contract is up with an employer, that employer can force the POAM member to pay the additional fees associated with a rise in health care costs. With many public employees making concessions in new contracts, it’s crucial that we protect the rights of our members.
For more information about PA 152, PA 54 or PA 63 please take some time to listen to our podcast. Frank Guido lays out all of POAM’s positions and what we are currently doing to protect our brothers’ and sisters’ rights. If you have any other questions about these acts or what you can do, don’t hesitate to contact POAM today.