Healthcare

Union Workers

Extended healthcare for individuals covered by the Industry Wide Agreement (IWA) or Division A Contract:

1 Q: I have been laid off due to the Coronavirus. How long will I have healthcare for?
A: Our Union has moved mountains to win extraordinary protections and special benefits to assist the workers we represent to get through this emergency. The most important example has been the Union’s success in persuading and compelling a devastated industry to continue to fund healthcare coverage for most of the 40,000 workers we represent (most of whom are laid off) over a period of many additional months.

At the onset of the pandemic, now-HTC President Rich Maroko filed for arbitration to win extended medical coverage for laid-off workers. Through a series of arbitrations and tough negotiations, workers in IWA and Division A hotels who were laid off due to the Coronavirus have had healthcare coverage since April.

Most recently, on September 11, the arbitrator ruled that hotels signed on to the IWA and Division A contracts must pay for healthcare coverage for workers laid off due to the pandemic through December 31, 2020.

2 Q: Does the arbitrator’s award cover me if I am on the hotel’s insurance?
A: Yes, the Union takes the position that you are covered by the award.

3 Q. If I am on Worker’s Compensation, FMLA (including maternity leave), or disability, am I covered by the healthcare extension?
A: If you participate in Industry-Wide Benefit Fund and because you were on Worker’s Comp, FMLA, or disability, you were covered during February or March of 2020, then you will continue to be covered for the remainder of the extension.

4 Q: If I am a regular part-time worker, am I covered by the healthcare extension?
A: Yes, if you are otherwise covered, then you are still covered.

Extended healthcare for individuals covered by the Greater Regional Industry Wide Agreement (GRIWA):

1 Q: I have been laid off due to the Coronavirus. How long will I have healthcare for?
A: On March 19, 2020 the arbitrator ruled that shops signed on to the GRIWA must pay for 6 months of healthcare coverage for HTC-represented workers who have been laid off due to the coronavirus. On September 23, 2020, the arbitrator ruled on a dispute between the Union and the hotel industry. He affirmed the Union’s position that this 6 month obligation began as of the date the laid off worker lost coverage. For thousands of workers enrolled in UNITE HERE HEALTH Plans 100 and 105, this occurred at the end of July. As a result, those workers will now have coverage until January 31, 2021.

2 Q: Does the arbitrator’s award cover my copayment for my healthcare?
A: Yes, the arbitrator ruled that under the GRIWA, management must pay for your employee co-contribution if you are laid off and for as long as you’re getting health insurance according to the award.

3 Q: Does the arbitrator’s award cover me if I am on the hotel’s insurance?
A: Yes, you are covered by the award and will have 6 months of healthcare from the date you lost coverage. In addition, on March 30th, the arbitrator ruled that under the GRIWA, management must pay for your employee co-contribution if you are laid off and for as long as you’re getting health insurance according to the award.

Contacting a doctor

1 Q: How can I schedule a non-emergency doctor appointment during the crisis?
A: For any HTC-represented workers, covered by the Industry-Wide Benefit plan—and your dependents— you can now schedule a telephone visit for any internal medicine, family practice, and pediatric providers. If you would like to schedule a telephone visit with your provider, please call one of our Health Centers.

For any HTC-represented workers covered by UNITE HERE HEALTH Plan 100 or Plan 105, if your doctor offers phone or video visits, they are covered and if your doctor is in network, they’re covered at 100%. If you can’t get an appointment with your doctor, you can now access a healthcare provider through Teladoc. For more information, visit UNITE-HERE Health’s website: https://www.uhh.org/coronavirus

2 Q: Is there a number I can call for more information on the Coronavirus?
A: Yes. Our Industry Wide Benefit Funds have set up special phone numbers, staffed Monday thru Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM at the Health Centers to answer questions about the Coronavirus outbreak. These hotlines are available to all HTC-represented workers regardless of whether or not they are covered by the Industry Wide Health Care Plan.

Hotlines:

Weekend and After Hours:

  • HTC-represented workers who are part of the Industry Wide Health Care Plan can call the Empire Nurse hotline at 1-877-825-5276.
  • HTC-represented workers who are covered by the Unite-Here Health Plan 100 and Plan 105 can call 1-800-222-1222.

3 Q: Am I able to speak to a therapist or counselor during this crisis?
A: For any HTC represented workers, covered by the Industry-Wide Benefit plan—and your dependents - the Members Health Assistance Program (MHAP) is offering counseling services over the phone for existing patients as well as setting up new patients over the phone. All counseling sessions are totally confidential. To be connected with a counselor please call MHAP Monday thru Friday 7:30 AM– 7:00 PM at (212) 237-3037 or (888) 615-6427.

For any HTC represented workers covered by UNITE HERE HEALTH Plan 100 or Plan 105, you can speak to a counselor through Optum’s behavioral health program: COVID-19: Accessing behavioral health treatment.

4 Q: I am a member on UHH Plan 100 or Plan 105, can I get tested for the coronavirus?
A:
For any HTC-represented workers and their families who are covered under UNITE HERE HEALTH Plan 100, Plan 105, or Plan 400, COVID-19 testing fees and co-pays are being waived. In addition, any medically necessary testing is covered at no cost to you. This means you won’t have to pay out of pocket for any testing that your doctor orders related to the Coronavirus. Plus, if your doctor is in-network and offers phone or video appointments, they are covered at 100%. For more information, you can contact UNITE HERE HEALTH at: 866-261-5676.

For individuals not covered by the healthcare extension:

1 Q: What happens when I no longer have healthcare coverage?
A: The Union has compiled a guide about the many alternative healthcare options that will be available to you should you lose healthcare coverage in the upcoming months. We encourage you to review this guide to explore which plan will be best for you and your family. Click here to be redirected to that guide. If you have any questions, or need assistance, you can contact us at (212) 245-8100 and select option #1. 

2 Q: Can I receive payment for my paid time off to extend my healthcare?

A: Before this pandemic, under the long-standing rules of the Industry-Wide Benefit Plan, covered employees were eligible for healthcare if they worked enough hours (functions in the case of banquet servers) or as part of a severance package. Laid off workers, generally were not eligible and payment of accrued time off did not their eligibility.

However, to meet this emergency, on August 25th, HTC President Rich Maroko convened a special meeting of the trustees of the Funds and convinced the trustees to amend the plan so that payment of paid time off would extend healthcare coverage. The trustees also approved a temporary plan that allows the workers we represent to maintain partial healthcare coverage.

This option will be available to HTC-represented workers who participate in the Industry Wide Benefit Funds and lose coverage in the months ahead. To read more about this new option, and the other alternative health care options that will be available for you and your family when you lose coverage, click here.

Non-Union Workers

For individuals in need of healthcare coverage:

1 Q: What happens when I no longer have healthcare coverage?

A:
When an employee loses their job or has their work hours reduced, you generally have the option to purchase COBRA (for all group health plans maintained by private-sector employers with 20 or more employees), which is a health insurance program that allows eligible employees and their dependents to continue to pay for their health coverage (at slightly above the employer’s cost) for a limited period of time, from 18 to 36 months, depending on your situation.

There are also many free and affordable healthcare options available through the Affordable Care Act. If you lost your health insurance due to the coronavirus pandemic, you qualify for a special enrollment on the federal exchanges, which allows you to enroll within 60 days before or 60 days after losing your health insurance, and may be less expensive than COBRA. For more information about this, click here.

2 Q: How do I purchase COBRA?

A: To purchase COBRA, contact your Human Resource’s Department or healthcare provider for details on how to purchase it.

3 Q: How do I enroll in affordable healthcare through New York State?

A: New York State has several programs that can provide you and your family with affordable healthcare, if you do not have health insurance. These programs include:

  • Medicaid
  • The Essential Plan
  • Child Health Plus, if you have dependent children.
  • Qualified Health Plans (“Obamacare” marketplace plans)

Eligibility for these programs depends on your income, family size, and whether you have dependent children. To apply, you will only send in one application, to the NY State of Health marketplace. You do not need to send in an application for each program — the NY State of Health will decide which program(s) you and your family are eligible for based on your application. On September 16, 2020 Governor Cuomo extended open enrollment in the health exchange through December 31, 2020.

You can apply for these programs by using the NY State of Health website at https://nystateofhealth.ny.gov, or by calling 1-855-355-5777 (or 1-800-662-1220 for the deaf and hard of hearing.)

4 Q: Are there additional affordable healthcare options in New York City?
A: In addition to having access to those plans offered in New York State, you have the option to enroll in health insurance and have your health care needs (medical, dental, pharmacy) met through New York Health + Hospitals. An easy way to enroll is to contact one of the eleven participating hospitals directly and their Managed Care Financial Assistance Office will discuss your options and assist you.

Click here
to find the hospital nearest you and get their contact information.

5 Q: How do I enroll in affordable healthcare in New Jersey?
A:
New Jersey has several programs that can provide you and your family with affordable healthcare if you do not have health insurance. These programs include:

  • NJ FamilyCare (Medicaid, CHIP and Expanded Medicaid populations)
  • Medicaid
  • healthcare.gov (“Obamacare” marketplace plans)

For general healthcare information visit https://nj.gov

NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid

Eligibility for these public insurance programs depends on your income, family size, whether you have dependent children.

The fastest way to apply for NJ FamilyCare is online. Visit njfc.force.com for more information and to apply online.

You can also apply for NJ FamilyCare/Medicaid over the phone at 1 (800) 701-0710 (or 1 (800) 701-0720 for hearing impaired individuals) Mondays and Thursdays 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, or 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. They have multi-lingual operators available.

“Obamacare” Health Insurance Marketplace

You can fill out a questionnaire to see if you may qualify to shop for a plan under a special enrollment period if you’ve had certain changes in your life. These changes include

  • You recently lost your employer healthcare coverage,
  • You recently lost your healthcare coverage through the state,
  • You’ve recently gotten married
  • You recently changed your residence
  • You’ve recently had a child or are caring for a new dependent

You can find the questionnaire and apply on their website.

You can also determine your eligibility and apply over the phone at 1 (800) 318-2596.

Related News

Find Alternative Healthcare

September 25, 2020 2:49 PM

During this catastrophe, the federal government utterly failed the people they are supposed to serve and the toll has been more horrific even than most American wars.

Our Union, however, has moved mountains to win extraordinary protections and special benefits to assist the workers we represent to get through this emergency. The most important example has been the Union’s success in persuading and compelling a devastated industry to continue to fund healthcare coverage for most of the 40,000 workers we represent (most of whom are laid off) over a period of many additional months.

We have compiled this guide about the many alternative healthcare options that will be available to you should you lose coverage in the upcoming months. Read more...

Can I receive payment for my paid time off to extend my healthcare?

September 25, 2020, 2:46 PM

Before this pandemic, under the long-standing rules of the Industry-Wide Benefit Plan, covered employees were eligible for healthcare if they worked enough hours (functions in the case of banquet servers) or as part of a severance package. Laid off workers generally were not eligible and payment of accrued time off did not extend their eligibility.

However, to meet this emergency, on August 25th, HTC President Rich Maroko convened a special meeting of the trustees of the Funds and convinced the trustees to amend the plan so that payment of paid time off would extend healthcare coverage. The trustees also approved a temporary plan that allows the workers we represent to maintain partial healthcare coverage. Read more...

Union Wins Three More Months of Healthcare and Structured Severance Pay for Workers from IWA and Division A Shops in Landmark Arbitration

Friday, September 11, 2020 7:31 PM

The arbitrator’s decision requires IWA and Division A employers to pay for an additional three-month extension of healthcare coverage for employees who are still on layoff as a result of the pandemic. Those workers are now guaranteed healthcare through the end of 2020. Most employees from those same IWA and Division A shops (who would be entitled to severance pay in the event the shop permanently closed) will soon be entitled to extra pay each week to supplement their unemployment benefits as a structured payout of severance. Read more…

What happens when the emergency funding of our IWA and Division A health funds ends?

August 24, 2020 12:22 PM

As you know, normally, if you are laid off or leave your job, your healthcare coverage ends unless you buy continuing COBRA coverage. Fortunately, during the Coronavirus crisis, our Union has been able to make the employers to pay the cost of continuing to provide health coverage to the tens of thousands of our members who have been laid off.

While your Union is trying to extend benefits even further, there is little question that the additional funding for employees who are not working is going to end before the industry gets completely back on its feet. We want the workers we represent to be prepared for when that happens. Read more...

BREAKING NEWS: Extension to Healthcare Benefits and Coronavirus Safety Protocol

August 15, 2020 10:34 AM

I am pleased to report that, late last night, and after arduous negotiations over the last few days, we were able to finalize an agreement with the Hotel Association that (1) continues healthcare for an additional month for members covered by the IWA and Division A contracts and (2) extends the Coronavirus Safety Protocol Agreement for the duration of this public health crisis. 

Read more from HTC President Rich Maroko...