Hire Flex Plan
Highlights of What You Need to Know
The Flex Plan offers a "cafeteria style"
benefit option list in which you design your individual plan according to
your needs. Since you are under no obligation to participate in a "one
size fits all" benefit arrangement, you will find that you can custom
tailor benefit selections that are right for you.
What is the purpose of the Flex Plan?
Entertainment Industry Flex Plan is an employee benefit plan which combines
both Employer Contributions and Employee Contributions to fund a full array
of welfare benefits such as medical, dental, vision, disability, group term
life insurance and dependent care assistance (child care).
Flex Plan is an IRS‑approved Welfare Trust Fund which permits monies
to be contributed to your individual account with the Plan that under present
law are not subject to income tax.
When Do You Become Eligible to Participate?
your account has accumulated approximately $100.00 of employer and voluntary
How is it paid for?
The Flex Plan requires that the participating Company make a contribution
for each employee covered by the Plan.
There is no “opt out” provision.
Under the terms bargained by the parties, ABC’s contribution of $10
per day for each daily hire employee reduces the daily hire premium from $50
a day to $40. For Radio Program
Coordinators, the $10 a day reduces wages.
At first glance, some dailies ask, “What’s in this for me since the
Company is making the Flex Plan contribution out of my daily hire premium?”
Answer: The monies, which go into the Flex Plan, are PRE-TAX DOLLARS.
Here’s an example: If you are in the 37% combined tax rate, you are gaining 37% on those contributions. If you had received that $10 as wages, you’d have only $6.30 to spend on medical insurance. But since it goes into the Flex Plan as pre-tax dollars, you have the whole $10 to spend, plus the advantage of being able to buy medical insurance at group rates.
is just the beginning. Once we
have our foot in the door, we’ll be able to argue for increases in Company-paid
contributions at future negotiations.
Flex Plan allows you to make choices as an individual. You receive credit
for every dollar that is contributed to the plan on your behalf. If you already
have health insurance from another source, you are not required to elect coverage
from the Flex Plan. You may use the monies contributed on your behalf for
other purposes, including paying for your pre-existing coverage.
your account is short, you may pay the difference to continue your coverage,
subject to plan rules. Employer contributions made on your behalf are not
lost for failure to reach a certain "qualifying" level, but are
held in the Alternate Benefit (AB) Account and may be used to pay insurance
premiums or used to reimburse allowable expenses in accordance with Plan guidelines.
number of options you choose from the "menu of benefits" will be
determined by your personal needs as well as how much money you have in your
Flex Plan account. If you are employed regularly by one or more employers,
you will probably have enough money in your account to have medical insurance
premiums paid by the Plan, for you and your family, on a monthly basis.
NBC, CBS and FOX all participate in the Flex Plan on your behalf as long as
the job position you are in is covered by a collective bargaining agreement
that provides for a contribution.
some cases, individuals will not require health insurance because it may be
already provided by a spouse's employer or another plan and they will decide
to use the funds in the account on other benefits offered.
the contribution to your account through pre‑tax payroll deductions
can decrease your taxable wages and is particularly valuable in instances
where your insurance premiums or other Dependent Child expenses exceed the
monthly employer contributions to your account.
(Editor’s Note: There are differences between the way employer and employee contributions are treated. If you elect to make employee contributions, read the Plan carefully.)
in the Plan
May 15, 2000, the Flex Plan should begin receiving employer contributions
from ABC on your behalf. Once you become eligible to participate, as described
above, you will be sent an enrollment package, provided the Flex Plan is able
to obtain your address. Packages
are generally mailed by the 10th of the month following the month you qualify.
you believe sufficient contributions have
been made on your behalf and you have not received information from
the Flex Plan, call the Member Services Department to confirm the Plan has
your correct address on file. It is very important that you call your in
elections to the Flex Plan, even if you do not wish coverage from the Flex
you do not complete your enrollment within the period provided, you will not
be eligible to make insurance elections or dependent care allocations until
the next Open Enrollment period. If your account accumulates sufficient
funds to make three months medical insurance premium payments, you will be
automatically enrolled under the default carrier with single coverage. You
will not have the option to make other insurance elections at that time.
Can Plan Elections be changed?
you enroll in the Flex Plan, you may not withdraw or make any changes to benefit
selections, cancel or change insurance elections until the next open enrollment
period unless you have a change in family status. Also, the change to your
benefit selection(s) must be consistent
with your change in family status.
Note: In order to process your change, the Flex Plan must receive notification
of your change in writing within 30 days of the event.
insurance carriers require that all participants with sufficient account balances
be insured. When your account balance reaches $600, you are required to be
insured. Your coverage may be from one of the following sources:
you do not elect medical insurance coverage from one of the Flex Plan providers,
you are required to show proof of insurance. If the proof of insurance
is not provided to the Plan within the period provided, the Flex Plan is required
to enroll you under the default carrier with single coverage.
information for Individual Policies: If you hold an individual policy, the
Flex Plan is required to make your premium payments for you to ensure continued
coverage, or you must submit evidence that the policy is in force in accordance
with plan guidelines, or you must pay your premiums through the end of the
calendar year. Coverage from a Flex Plan provider may only be elected during
the Open Enrollment period or upon termination of coverage by another insurance
provider (provided you can certify the termination was due to circumstances
beyond your control).
What if your Account Balance is not sufficient to cover your insurance premium payment(s)?
you do not have sufficient funds in your account to pay your premiums, the
Flex Plan allows you to "self-pay" the necessary premiums for a
period of 18 months. (Editor’s
Note: see the full Plan Information Document for specifics on how this works.)
your spouse pays for your coverage through their employer and has additional
funds withheld from their pay to cover you (and your dependents) under their
medical plan, you can be reimbursed for those expenses as well.
(Editor’s Note: see the full Plan Information Document for specifics
on how this works.)
Hire CWA 401k Plan
Have the Opportunity To:
on your current taxes
from tax-deferred growth
no taxes on money in the Plan until withdrawal**— your earnings
compound and you earn interest without any reduction for current
where to invest your account, taking advantage of professionally
a wide range of investment
information and opportunity
easy access to your account
CWA Savings and Retirement
Trust is the smart way to save for retirement!
you are already a plan participant, check out your account on-line
early withdrawals subject to tax. See plan documents for details.
A Flex Plan provider (shown in the Summary of Benefits
Another Collectively Bargained Plan
An Individual Policy you hold (the Flex Plan must make
your payments, or you must show your policy is in force on an ongoing
For further information go to www.flexplan.com