UAW Reveals Ford Health Care Deal Details

December 15, 2005 ( - The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has released details of a tentative pact with Ford Motor Co. which calls for health care coverage reductions for certain employees and retirees.

Under the agreement, which still must be approved by UAW members, the cost of prescription drugs goes up and hourly workers are required to make a contribution to a retirement fund, according to news reports. The provisions exempt around 28,000 retired autoworkers whose Ford pension income is $8,000 a year or less.

All other UAW-Ford retirees and surviving spouses will be required to pay monthly premiums of $10 for individual coverage and $21 for family coverage and the agreement puts into place deductibles and co-payments. Ford retirees will face maximum out-of-pocket costs of $250 for individuals and $500 for families

The auto union had said publicly that the Ford deal had been reached, but held back on details until UAW officials could privately brief their local union leaders.

The agreement is expected to save the struggling carmaker $850 million in health costs annually on a pretax basis, the UAW said. Ford predicts that health cost will reach about $3.5 billion this year

Earlier this week, Mark Fields, the new head of Ford’s Americas division, said in an e-mail that the automaker would freeze benefits for white-collar retirees and increase out-of-pocket expenses for active salaried employees. For example, annual deductibles will increase between 17% and 33%, depending on the health plan chosen.

More information about the Ford deal is here .