SEIU Local 99 members at Ventura Community College District protest health insurance rate increases
When the Anthem PPO renewal rates for health insurance premiums were released last month, Local 99 members at the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) were shocked – and immediately determined to take action.
Here’s what happened: the Anthem plan is the only current alternative to the Kaiser HMO, and as good as Kaiser is for some, it just doesn’t work for everyone’s health care needs. But under the new rates, Local 99 members would have to pay an additional $311 to $413 per month to keep their Anthem insurance. No Way!
In response to these outrageous increases, nearly fifty VCCCD classified workers in purple Local 99 t-shirts were at the Board of Trustees meeting on March 20. The Trustees heard from eighteen speakers about how the District’s current cap on health premiums would result in extraordinary – sometimes impossible – economic conditions for many employees who rely on Anthem. Local 99 Stewards read statements from some who couldn’t be there in person.
Local 99 Chief Steward Maria Urenda stressed “the magnitude of this moment and the urgency of the issue” in her public comments to the Trustees. Urenda continued, “I am confident that our members will not have to jeopardize the health of their loved ones, or give up aspects of their lives to be able to budget in what should be a benefit of working for this district.”
Members made an impact. As a first step, the Board of Trustees publicly committed to directing its administration to engage with Local 99 to resolve this problem in a timely manner. Local 99 and District representatives are working now to set dates to meet as soon as possible.
The next VCCCD Board of Trustees meeting is set for April 10.