UNITE HERE members stay healthy with comprehensive, affordable health care.
With UNITE HERE, tens of thousands of families have access to high quality care that our members—cooks, room cleaners, and busboys—can actually afford. In cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, members pay $50 or less in monthly premiums to cover their entire families. In Atlantic City, New York, and Las Vegas, we run our own non-profit health clinic and members pay no premiums at all.
Our centers have been profiled by The New Yorker, the New York Daily News and others as sustainable models for how disadvantaged communities can access premium care while controlling rising healthcare costs. Clamping down on costs means our members don’t forgo good raises to keep high quality care.
UNITE HERE Health Care Successes
- Affordability: Many of UNITE HERE’s funds offer coverage well below market cost.
- Health Care for Low-Income Families: UNITE HERE’s plans cover workers in low-wage jobs in industries that traditionally exclude workers from good benefits and comprehensive care.
- More Money on Care: It took an act of Congress to make for-profit insurers spend at least 80 cents of each premium dollar on actual health care. UNITE HERE Health Funds averaged 90+ cents on the dollar long before the Affordable Care Act.
- Portability: UNITE HERE’s multi-employer plans allow workers to change employers within their industry and keep their coverage without a break.
- Support for Small Business: UNITE HERE funds pool small employers’ market power, allowing them to offer more comprehensive, affordable coverage than they could on their own.
- Health Coaching and Peer Support: Our health plans in Los Angeles and Chicago are training UNITE HERE members to be health coaches who support fellow members in leading a healthier lifestyle. These programs offer ways for members to support each to meet goals for exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes. These changes can be hard to make alone but are easier when coworkers and family supporting each other. These Better Living programs are now spreading to our health plans in other cities.
Las Vegas: Open All Night, Speaking Your Language
The Culinary Welfare Fund covers 125,000 people, with full family coverage costing employers less than $800 per month. Members pay no premium and roughly 10% cost sharing. The workforce is nearly 50% Latino, plus Filipino, East and South Asian and Ethiopian immigrants. Members may struggle to access health care even with good benefits, so the Fund hires staff nurses and advocates to make sure hospitalized patients’ languages are understood and care coordinated, operates its own pharmacy dispensing free generic drugs, contracts with the area’s only all-night pediatric Urgent Care Center to avoid unnecessary emergency room visits, and runs an aggressive diabetes management program, with free education, insulin, meters, strips and lancets.
New York: Platinum Coverage, Silver Prices (www.hotelfunds.org)
According to the New York Daily News,
“[w]ith industry financing, the hotel workers union has operated health-care clinics for some six decades. The network includes 200 doctors and provides full ambulatory medical, dental, optical and pharmaceutical services at five locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
“The health plan contracts with an additional 200 doctors to provide specialized care and services. As a result, the union’s medical coverage costs about one-third of what other employers pay to buy health insurance.”
Atlantic City: Focused Care for Neediest Narrows the Racial Health Gap
As highlighted in The New Yorker in 2011, UNITE HERE’S Atlantic City Special Care Center is a “medical home” for patients with severe or multiple chronic illnesses. Health coaches visit patients 105 in their homes and assist them in managing their conditions. The Center has achieved measurable positive outcomes on benchmarks like lowering LDL cholesterol and systolic blood pressure, and improving smoking cessation. Patients of all races have benefited, and African-American and Latino members have seen disproportionate gains.
Our Health Funds: A Counterweight to For-Profit Insurers
For decades, unions and their employers have provided affordable comprehensive benefits to employees through “Taft-Hartley” plans. These benefit funds are governed by a separate regulatory scheme from commercial insurers, and are a non-profit market counterweight to the for-profit companies. Their joint union-management governance structure gives patients a unique democratic voice in plan governance.
The mission of UNITE HERE HEALTH, a Taft-Hartley labor management trust fund, is to provide health benefits that offer high quality, affordable health care to participants at better value with better service than is otherwise available in the market.
Many of our health plans provide member-centered customer service. In Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York, you can walk in for the help you need. You can also use our website or call lines to learn more about your plan, find a doctor, understand your benefit statements, and have questions answered about your eligibility and claims. All customer service is available in both English and Spanish, with support in other languages when needed.
While our benefits are better than those required by the ACA, we do cover the ACA mandates, such as the ability to keep dependents on members’ plans until they are age 26, no exclusions for any pre-existing conditions, and no annual or lifetime benefit caps.
- Atlantic City in The New Yorker, January 24, 2011
- NYC Plan in the NY Daily News, February 10, 2012
- NJBIZ: “Atlantic City casino union opens its own health center,” May 28, 2014