Prices on the rise, but you don’t get to decide
Surprise! It’s another year and Delta has once again made changes to our healthcare and there’s absolutely nothing we can say or do about it. This year’s unwelcome surprise is an increase in our premiums. Just one year ago, you may remember that Delta management unilaterally changed healthcare providers. Since then, Flight Attendants have struggled to seek care from our normal doctors who are now out of network and prescription costs have increased. We’ve also been forced to get procedures, treatments, and medications re-approved.
This time of year is always a harsh reminder that, without a union contract, management can raise premiums or change coverage at any time without an ounce of Flight Attendant input.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Union Flight Attendants across the industry negotiate healthcare plans to cover more, lower deductibles and out of pocket expenses, and cap increases from year to year. Our own Pilots and Dispatchers have healthcare plans with lower premiums protected under legally-binding contracts. Meanwhile, we are saddled with higher costs, ineffective coverage, and left searching for doctors who are actually in network.
We would never see management compare us to Spirit in a ‘Rumor Has It’ email, but Spirit AFA Flight Attendants have the option to pay a premium of just $48.09 per paycheck for an individual PPO plan with a deductible of just $250. There is no additional premium for dental care either. If we look at premiums alone for a PPO plan, an individual Spirit Flight Attendant will pay $1,153 in 2024, while an individual Delta Flight Attendant will pay $1,836.
Our fellow Flight Attendants are concerned with our healthcare:
“If I pay $2500 out of my pocket already and it doesn't even cover what I need, then it's kinda pointless. I would much rather pay that money towards a plan that actually takes care of me. When your plan excludes you from needed medications or does not cover skin cancer biopsies, and requires Prior Authorizations for basic procedures, you feel depleted.”
“My favorite doctor has now gone out of network thanks to our horrible insurance. Thanks Delta. Why can't we get decent insurance when we are spending so much money? So much for being ‘industry leading’.”
“Delta made a big deal out of not increasing premiums [last year] but mentioned nothing of doubling and tripling the cost of lab work and medication.”
The bottom line is that, without a union contract, we are at the mercy of management and how much they decide to raise our premiums and downgrade our care to keep the company’s costs lower. With a contract, we can have control over if, when, and how much our premiums go up, and we’ll help determine the quality of our healthcare. Let’s secure our union and negotiate an industry-leading healthcare plan for ourselves and for our families.