Rail disability plan revisions effective Jan. 1

Published: November 23, 2011

Revisions to the Anthem Voluntary Short Term Disability (VSTD) plan that better reflect the actual claims experience of our rail members and adjust to the prevailing market rate for this type of coverage will become effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Revisions to the Lincoln National Life Short Term Disability plan for bus members are being evaluated and should be available within the next 60 days.

The UTU Board of Trustees has carefully studied the various options available to our group and concluded that these revisions are warranted and necessary for the long-term health and viability of the plan.

First and foremost, our focus is to maintain a basic “safety net” of coverage for our members while balancing plan costs with plan benefits.

The revisions below are effective Jan. 1, 2012. If you currently do not participate in the Anthem VSTD plan because you had previously waived coverage, you are not affected by these revisions.

•The monthly premium has changed to $34.50 per month from $31 per month.

•The plan no longer provides benefits for alcoholism or drug addiction treatment at a rehabilitation center or other institution approved for such treatment.

•The benefit period has been reduced to 26 weeks for all disabilities.

Except for these revisions, there are no other changes to the plan or its operation.

There are no new pre-existing condition exclusions to satisfy under the revised plan.

If you have already satisfied the 12-month pre-existing condition exclusion period, or are in the process of satisfying it, then your status will carry forward to the revised plan. Your enrollment date under the original plan will apply to the revised plan.

If you become a member of the plan, for the first time, on or after Jan. 1, 2012, you will be subject to a 12-month pre-existing condition exclusion period (the same provision as existed under the original plan).

If you incur a disability that commences on or before Dec. 31, 2011, your disability benefits (for the entire period of that disability) will be calculated based on the original plan benefits in effect prior to the Jan. 1, 2012, revisions. All disabilities that commence on or after Jan. 1, 2012, will be subject to the revised plan guidelines.

Your benefits remain 100% tax-free.

If you own a UTUIA disability plan, you may continue to collect those benefits with no offset to your Anthem disability benefits 

The premium change will be made effective with your December 2011 pay. This will happen automatically through your local treasurer to ensure your coverage is not interrupted. There is nothing for rail members to do to continue this valuable coverage.

If you decide to leave the plan, you must notify us with a waiver form (available on the UTU website), completed and mailed to the International. Once we receive your waiver form, we will contact your local treasurer to discontinue deductions and make any necessary refunds to you. 

Once you submit a waiver form, you will no longer be eligible to participate in the plan. If you wish to re-enroll at a later date, you will be subject to full underwriting at your expense, with no guarantee of acceptance. If you are accepted, you will be required to satisfy a new 12-month pre-existing condition exclusion period.

Waiver forms should be mailed to: Attn: Dora Wolf, United Transportation Union, 24950 Country Club Blvd., Suite 340, North Olmsted, OH 44070-5333.

In 2009, the UTU introduced the Anthem (VSTD) plan and made preparations for the initial enrollment. The plan has received overwhelming support from our rail members, with more than 40,000 enrolled. Since its inception, UTU members have become eligible for over $25,000,000 in disability benefits. While we never want to see our members sick or injured, we are excited that the Anthem plan was available when they needed it.