Important update for all SMART-TD and BLET members included in national negotiations

November 8, 2022

2023 payment rates confirmed for H&W plans

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (Nov. 8, 2022) — Late last week, members of the Cooperating Railway Labor Organizations (CRLO) and the National Carriers’ Conference Committee (NCCC) convened to review and renew the payment rates for the nationally negotiated health & welfare plans including medical, dental, vision, and life/accidental death & dismemberment (AD&D) benefits.

Prior to last week’s meetings, SMART-TD and BLET mailed ratification ballots to eligible members who are covered under the above plans. If ratified, the agreement would restore the 15% monthly employee cost-sharing contribution (based on the monthly payment rates set annually) that was included in the past three National Agreements. The Tentative Agreement also would provide additional benefits for hearing, speech therapy, and autism-related therapies that are not currently covered by the plans. There are no other H&W cost increases in the Tentative Agreement.

Accordingly, SMART-TD and BLET members are advised that the following payment rates (and monthly employee cost-sharing contribution rate, if ratified) will become effective January 1, 2023:

BenefitMonthly Payment Rate
Medical + Rx (non-hospital association rate)$1,972.43
Life/AD&D Coverage$12.30
15% Cost-Sharing Contribution (proposed)$309.21
Note that the above payment rates do not include costs for on-duty coverage or other administrative costs that are paid 100% by the carriers

The above confirmed payment rates, and therefore the proposed monthly employee cost-sharing contribution rate, came in lower than the previously provided estimates, which projected the 2023 monthly employee cost-sharing contribution rate to be $319.00. As further information, as part of the last National Agreement, the monthly employee cost-sharing contribution rate has been frozen at $228.89 since July of 2016. Had that freeze not been in effect, the 15% monthly employee cost-sharing contribution rates would have been as follows;

2016: $228.89

2017: $261.37

2018: $245.07

2019: $248.59

2020: $248.59

2021: $262.10

2022: $287.46

The 2023 15% monthly employee cost-sharing contribution rate of $309.21 represents a $21.75 increase over 15% of the 2022 premium rate, had the 15% monthly cost sharing not been capped in the last National Agreement. The Tentative Agreement under consideration now includes a similar cap that takes effect at end of 2024 and that cap is an improvement over the recommendations of the Presidential Emergency Board.

Voting on the 2022 Tentative Agreement will remain open until 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 20, 2022. Tabulation is set to occur and results will be announced on November 21.