Saturday, June 22, 2024

At SECU: The Employee Covenant - Health Care

https://www.insurancejournal.com/app/uploads/2014/01/Health-Insurance.jpg ... caring, costly, crucial. 

Healthcare as a benefit is not the most logical place to start a discussion of a covenant with SECU employees, but since we've touched that "third rail" already ...

Providing health insurance for employees - both active and retired - has always been a challenge for SECU and all employers. For example, N.C. State Treasurer Dale Folwell is currently before the Legislature seeking $300+ million to boost the financial soundness of the State Health Plan, which covers over 800,000 North Carolinians. The majority of people obtain coverage through their employer, which helps lower costs and provides employees with the advantage of a skilled administrator - working on their behalf.

Healthcare insurance is both a financial and an ethical dilemma for an employer. How an employer chooses to wrestle with those two difficult issues speaks clearly to an employer's core values - SECU is no exception. 

The puzzle confronted with healthcare starts with the fact that your health is quite often a random, "luck of the draw" blessing or problem. People, for the most part, can't choose their personal health profile - or else we would all choose "healthy" over "unhealthy". We can all work on diet, exercise, alcohol, and tobacco; but genetics, a physical disability, a chronic disease, a difficult pregnancy, or a catastrophic auto accident may strike any of us - at any time. Plus - due to the cost (and a little fear!) -  many of us unwisely delay seeking healthcare when problems first arise.

Add to the puzzle that young employees believe they don't need coverage, older employees can't live without it; and when incurred, medical costs are astronomical and well beyond the budgets of most families.   

In the past, the SECU Board decided that providing healthcare coverage to all employees was an ethical necessity and a professional requirement for the credit union. The basics were as follows:

  1. SECU would provide high quality individual health coverage for every employee.
  2. Participation by all employees was mandatory - even for those who did not plan to get sick or die.
  3. Each employee, regardless of position, would receive the same health coverage - no perks or separate plans for muck-mucks.
  4. Active and retired employees would be administered within the same insurance pool.
  5. The cost of individual employee coverage would be borne by the credit union.
  6. Dependent and family coverage would be optional and at the expense of the employee.

The simple goal was an attempt to administer the health coverage as a broad, single cooperative pool. Everybody had the same stake in the game! No one would be preferred, no one would be cut out, everyone was in the same "self-interest" boat!  The responsibility of the credit union was to the individual employee, coverage would be equal for all - regardless of employee position or status - active or retired.

Many employers are trying to solve "the healthcare puzzle" by shifting the future liability of rocketing costs entirely to employees. Fixed dollar employee healthcare "allowances" cap the financial risk of rising costs for SECU. Good finance perhaps, but certainly poor ethics in SECU employee relations.

By capping the retired health benefits of most current employees and retirees - and by eliminating retired health benefits entirely for new SECU employees - the principles and ethics of healthcare at SECU appear to have changed. New, young SECU employees were evidently misguided into giving up this important benefit. Now longer-term employees and retirees are apparently on the chopping block. SECU employees - active and retired - should pay close attention to any proposed changes. The SECU Board and ELT may no longer be working in your best interests.

The suspicion is that the SECU Board now values "a most profitable year ever" over and above the healthcare interests of  current and retired SECU employees and their families. 

Starting to see a pattern here?... yet another unhealthy unforced error?

 

17 comments:

  1. As a long term (20year) employee with a chronic health condition I am very concerned. At the age of 50 I really don’t want to start over after dedicating my working career to SECU.

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  2. Hate to co-op a certain former presidents slogan but “make secu great again” actually makes a lot of sense in our situation. Great for 80+ years. Have the evidence to back that statement as well as the past 2 years have been poor under Hayes and Leigh brady. It’s time to make secu great again. Time to hang it up board…you’ll never win over the membership at this point. That’s why y’all are having to cheat and make up rules to keep power. Pathetic. Where is the democracy we had here? When did power get consolidated to a handful of people? Who do you serve?

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    1. Yea that comment getting approved tracks.

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  3. Does the board know about this or is it just ceo idea?

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  4. It is policy which the board approves--maybe even initiates. Certainly initiated the disastrous outside hire of Jim Hayes. Hayes actively participated in the most costly failure ever in a national credit union and Hayes was selected by the SECU Board as CEO. Hayes started SECU on the downward spiral of industry standard and Leigh Brady(who knows better!!) has fully embraced that path. Certainly appears that the SECU Board is behind it all. This SECU Board likes consultants and outside hires to continue dismantling the good work SECU has done for North Carolina state employees for over 85 years. The last three years have been bad for members and employees and North Carolina. The numbers, other than the "profit" (at a non-profit!!) Brady likes to brag about, have been disastrous. This SECU Board has hamstrung and ignored the membership in every way possible. Kristina Ray has sat on her hands and allowed it. There is one remedy only and that is for the membership to run a slate of four for the SECU Board again this year. No element of surprise this year; Leighduhship is going to pull out all the stops. Stopping this is up to each one of us.

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  5. Maybe the muck-mucks are trading core values for core technology.

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    1. too bad they aren't smart enough to do both.

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  6. I wish we could see how each Board Member votes on Policy changes. As it is, they hide behind meeting minutes that are not published (that I am aware of).

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    1. any member can request a copy of the board meeting minutes I believe. You have to submit a "valid" request.

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  7. Report from the deck of the Titanic, ELT has wet their pants over this. heading for the not my fault life boats

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  8. I think the small amount of lead time given to employees and retirees to plan for such a major change - speaks volumes. (an advisor may help with choosing a plan, but doubt they will help folks revise their financial planning for their retirement years.)

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  9. Losing access to group medical and drug plans can be disastrous to retirees! Medicare Part D plans do not come close to coverage for many specialty drugs needed for life threatening diseases. This is the ultimate breach of appreciation and loyalty to those who dedicated their careers and hearts to SECU. SO disappointed in this Board and Leadership team.

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    Replies
    1. None of us get out of this alive.

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  10. Was this not written in the employee handbook years ago ,that at retirement SECU would pay for health insurance and when eligible for Medicare the SECU BCBS would them become your supplemental insurance. It was in the employee handbook I know for sure. So how can they take this back?

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  11. Wellness benefits and Ozempic will also greatly reduce our health care costs. The number of SECU employee who still chain smoke is also surprising. Watch out for yourselves, team!

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  12. People mistake advances in technology for advances in human nature ... Lust for greed and power are very powerful !

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