On September 1, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the new Choices medical and dental premiums and life insurance rates for next year, beginning January 1, 2021. By now, all active employees should have received the open enrollment book in the mail for the Choices plans. You have the entire month of October to make any changes to your current insurance coverages. If you do not make any changes this month, your current coverage will roll over into 2021. So, if you don’t want to change anything, no action is needed. But if you do want to make changes, you must do so by October 31.
If you have not received your Choices packet, log on to mylacountybenefits.com and go to “Additional Resources” to download the materials.
If you are ready to enroll, make changes or review your options, you can do it all from your computer, tablet or smartphone. Just log on to mylacountybenefits.com and take control from there. If you need additional assistance, the Benefits Hotline number is (213) 388-9982 and the hours during the month of October are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 31.
You should be aware of new information regarding the Choices Plan. Unfortunately, effective January 1, 2021, the taxable cash-back limit will be reduced from $325 a month to $244 a month. Regardless, if your unused benefits allowance is more than $244 a month, only $244 will be added to your monthly pay. If you fall into this category, you may want to consider enrolling in or increasing other benefits, such as optional life insurance or spending accounts.
To offset the “caps” on cash back received by members in the Choices plan and lower-than-normal medical contributions, the Coalition of County Unions (CCU) negotiated “sustainability bonuses” for the 2018–2021 Fringe Benefits Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). On January 1, 2020, employees in the Choices plan received a 1% salary sustainability bonus increase. Fortunately, effective January 1, 2021, all full-time permanent employees represented by the CCU who are presently at the final step of their salary range will receive a 2.75% salary sustainability step increase, so long as they have completed 12 months of service at their final step and have received an annual performance rating of “Competent” or better. These sustainability increases are an acknowledgement of the CCU’s cooperation with maintaining the bona fide status of the Choices Cafeteria Plan.
Despite the many changes due to the Flores v. City of San Gabriel (9th Cir. 2016) case, the news is still somewhat positive for next year’s medical and dental rates, despite the fact that the County only increased its 2021 health insurance contribution by 2.5%. It should be noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had very little impact on the 2021 medical and dental rates. The 2021 rates were based on actuarial plan experience from 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, which mostly occurred before the pandemic. The 2022 rates will be negotiated in 2021, as the current Fringe Benefits MOU terminates on June 30, 2021.
In January 2021, monthly health insurance contributions from the County will increase to $1,031.14 for an employee only, $1,881.33 for an employee plus one dependent and $2,222.42 for an employee plus two or more dependents.
The 2.5% County contribution coupled with the 2.75% sustainability salary increase should soften the blow for most PPOA members who will likely experience increases in their respective medical plan rates.
The 2021 Delta Dental PPO plan rates for PPOA members will decrease from current 2020 rates. PPOA members enrolled in the Delta Care USA and MetLife/Safeguard dental plans will also see a decrease from current 2020 rates.
Optional group term life for represented employees will remain unchanged for 2021. Dependent life and AD&D insurance rates for represented employees will remain unchanged for 2021. The contract rates are guaranteed through 2022.
Below, you will find specific information on all Choices medical and dental plans, including current 2020 rates, new 2021 rates and the percentage increase/decrease for each plan. Any questions on these charts or other issues should be directed to the County Human Resources benefits department at (213) 388-9982.
If you would like to access the 2018–2021 Fringe Benefits MOU, please visit PPOA.com/members/contracts.
As you know, PPOA rejoined the CCU in August 2019 and looks forward to having a seat at the Fringe Benefits bargaining table in 2021 as the CCU collectively, with solidarity, negotiates the best possible fringe benefits for all of our CCU members.