Hello: I'm a UAW retiree.  I just got a first hand experience of our new health care changes. I've been slammed with over $500. of health care bills in less than 30 days.  Even though I received and read the pamphlets sent out about the changes in our system. I never got the idea that it would be this way. Apart from some drugs and services no longer covered and an increase in pharmacy co-pays I didn't expect that much of a change.  I got a rude awakening recently.  I discovered that we no longer have a "co-pay " for office visits. Which means we have to pay the entire cost of the office visit. One doctor I was referred to recently charges  $177. for an office visit !  We now have a deductible : which I didn't understand at all. This means you have to pay the first so many hundreds of dollars before the insurance kicks in and when it does it will cover 100% : but getting there almost makes going to the doctor prohibitive : .....well not almost ........ it does for sure ! I'm on medications that require me to see the doctor twice a year (minimum) ; which means if I want to keep taking these medications I have an out of pocket now of more than I can afford to go see the doctor. This means in essence that I have to stop taking these medicines at the risk of further health problems.  So, I guess they just want to kill us : that's one way to get rid of the retiree expenses.  Add to that the increase in pharmacy co-pay which shot up and it gets real expensive real fast .  I can't pay these bills nor afford any further treatment. What am I supposed to do ? I never planned on having these expenses when I decided to retire and now that I do I can't afford to be retired but I'm not healthy enough to go back to work. I know it's not the case but I know I'm not alone in thinking that the health care benefits you retired with were considered the health care benefits you would have for the rest of your life : If nothing else it was a tacit agreement between you and the company that became a binding contract when you signed on the dotted line to retire. I understand "sole bargaining unit " and all that but I also understand that there is such a thing as overstepping your bounds.   When I hired on to GM it was understood that the health care was part of the package now they have reneged as far as I'm concerned and I'm sure most of the others agree. It seems to me that any agreement that was made to reduce retiree health care or pension or anything else that did not give the retiree's the opportunity to vote on such changes would be unlawful  and illegal.  I really don't know how the UAW and GM can avoid a law suit over this.  No one seems to be immune from law suit so some ingenious attorney out there can probably figure out a way around it.  Do you happen to have any more information on this subject ?  If a class action suit is out couldn't we all file separate private law suits alleging misrepresentation!
Thank you for your attention to this matter
Larry McNeel UAW local 31

Protect UAW Retirees: Their Future is Our Future
UAW New Directions Movement ­ October 21, 2005

     COLLABORATION BETWEEN the UAW and GM, over 20 years in the making, 
is well known and now accepted as SOP. Although rarely discussed openly, 
its footprints are everywhere.  A prime example is the current "tentative 
agreement" which would force retirees to pay  a  bigger percentage of their 
health care  and active workers to pick up the tab. At the same time, fearful 
of backlash from members, the union has filed a lawsuit preventing UAW 
retirees from taking legal action against GM.