Thousands of labor-management, multiemployer health and welfare trust funds provide coverage to union-represented workers and their dependents, including medical, hospitalization, preventive and wellness care, prescription drugs, dental care and vision care. Without these trust funds, millions more working families would be uninsured and at risk for financial ruin in the event of a serious illness. The transient, project-based, mobile and seasonal employment patterns that characterize many of these industries would prevent workers from obtaining health coverage absent a central, pooled fund through which portable coverage is provided to workers as they move from employer to employer. The NCCMP is the only national organization devoted exclusively to protecting the interests of the millions of active and retired American workers and their families who rely on multiemployer plans for these health benefits. The NCCMP’s purpose is to assure an environment in which multiemployer plans can continue their vital role in providing benefits to working men and women.
The health care system in the United States has faced and continues to face significant changes. Below are the issues that are priorities for multiemployer health plans and participants.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new focus on the need for affordable, high quality healthcare. Despite this need, millions of American workers and their families are faced with a loss of health care coverage due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Congress must pass temporary premium assistance of 100% of the cost of COBRA coverage to ensure that workers who lose coverage through termination of employment, reduction in hours, or furlough are able to maintain health coverage.
Congress needs to repeal the 40% Excise Tax on High-Cost Plans, also known as the “Cadillac Tax.” The Cadillac Tax has been delayed to 2022, but must be eliminated in its entirety. Many multiemployer plans will be subject to the tax merely because health care costs continue to increase. The impact of the tax is also greater depending on the covered industry, geographic area, age and gender of the plan’s participants. The Cadillac Tax will impose a significant burden on the 20 million Americans who receive health care through multiemployer health plans, as well as on the employers who contribute to those plans to provide health care for their employees.
Congress should not change the current exclusion from income for employer-sponsored health coverage. Capping or otherwise limiting the current exclusion of health benefits from taxable income would result in a direct tax on multiemployer plan participants, and could result in higher taxes on health care than even the Cadillac Tax.
The NCCMP has actively sought to assure that legislation reflects the needs of multiemployer plans. In addition to the taxation of benefits, we have sought to eliminate the transitional reinsurance fees (belly-button tax), allow multiemployer plans to participate in the exchange and subsidies, and assure that the employer obligation to provide coverage is satisfied through contributing to a multiemployer plan.