Sep 26, 2019

Kaiser Permanente and unions tentatively avert strike

Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers, patients and their supporters march in a Labor Day protest, September 2, 2019. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Kaiser Permanente — the giant network that combines health insurance, doctors and hospitals — and a handful of unions have tentatively agreed to a 4-year deal that calls for higher employee pay, a $130 million fund to train workers for new jobs, and protected retirement benefits.

Why it matters: The deal covers more than 80,000 unionized workers, averting what would have been one of the largest work stoppages ever in the health care industry.

Go deeper: Why nurses are striking

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Health benefits won't change for GM workers

UAW workers have demanded health care costs stay the same. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

The tentative deal between General Motors and the United Auto Workers includes an agreement to keep the same health care plans "with no additional costs to members," according to a summary of the deal.

Why it matters: Most employer health plans are getting more expensive and less comprehensive. The UAW is ensuring GM's benefits stay comprehensive for workers — a move that competing automakers Ford and Fiat Chrysler likely will adopt in their negotiations — but the coverage itself remains pricey and chips away at funds that could go toward wages.

Go deeperArrowOct 18, 2019

Employer-based coverage is unaffordable for low-wage workers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Employer-based health insurance isn’t a monolith — the cost and generosity of that coverage varies widely. And that likely affects how open workers would be to “Medicare for All” or a public insurance option.

The big picture: Democrats’ health care plans would offer a better deal to many low-wage workers than to their higher-wage counterparts.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

Employers aren't changing their health benefits

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Companies rarely switch the health plans they offer to their workers, and seem to be especially cautious in the 2020 election year.

The big picture: Medical and drug costs are crushing employers and workers alike. But altering benefits — which could require employees to change their doctors — could provoke even more anger.

Go deeperArrowOct 21, 2019