GE’s claims come in response to a strike threat by the International Union of Electronic Workers / Communications Workers of America (IUE/CWA) over plans to increase four employee copayments by about $200 per worker during 2003. GE implemented the boosted copayments January 1. The two-day strike is now scheduled for January 14 (See GE Workers Threaten Strike over Health Care Costs ).
“GE’s health benefits remain among the best in the industries in which GE competes and in the marketplace,” the company said in a statement
The GE officials said employees aren’t the only ones facing higher health bills. They also pointed to a more than 40% increase in the company’s health-care expenses since 1999 to $1.4 billion. GE’s average health-care cost per employee is expected to be $2,350 higher in 2003 than in 1999, the company said.
The company also pointed out that the number of GE employees enrolled in GE’s Health Care Preferred plan increased even after the changes were announced.