General Motors has discontinued its contribution to UAW workers’ health care costs and directed striking hourly United Auto Workers to the COBRA law for ongoing health insurance yesterday as the strike moves into the middle of its first week.
The company and the union see health care paid for by the company during a strike differently. “It’s unfortunate that General Motors is using current heath care benefits — that over 47,000 GM workers and their families depend on as a way to leverage unfair concessions,” UAW spokesman Jason Kaplan told FOX Business in a statement on Wednesday. “This is a disappointing fork in the road for GM. Regardless, UAW will pick up the tab through our emergency strike fund.” General Motors issued a statement on the topic as well, saying, “We understand strikes are difficult and disruptive to families. While on strike, some benefits shift to being funded by the union’s strike fund, and in this case hourly employees are eligible for union-paid COBRA so their health care benefits can continue.”
For those who have been fortunate enough to never need it, COBRA is a law, not a health insurance policy. Here is how the COBRA website defines it; “COBRA is a way to keep your health insurance for you and your family after you lose your job, quit your job, or retire from your job. Since it is an extension of the plan you had while you were working, the plan itself is exactly the same – same doctors, same copays, same deductibles, same prescription costs, everything. The main difference with COBRA insurance is that you 1) must pay the entire premium without any employer help, and 2) it is temporary and only lasts for 18 months in most cases.”
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