By Jennifer Gomori, MAP Editor
Affordable quality healthcare is what most people are searching for given the rising costs of health insurance. MAP members now have a full range of options to choose from through a new agreement between the Union and Michigan Education Special Services Association (MESSA).
Underwritten by Blue Cross Blue Shield and Delta Dental, MESSA was originally established as a non-profit health plan or VEBA by the Michigan Education Association (MEA) for its members in 1960. As a 501©(9) Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association (VEBA), MESSA is a tax-exempt trust used to pay for members’ medical services and administering those benefits.
MESSA’s VEBA status already makes their costs lower than competitors to start with. Add to that the savings of not paying agent commissions and it’s easy to understand how MAP members and their Employers can save money on healthcare.
“We are an ally in Michigan for Union employees. We will try to be as competitive as possible,” said Heather Scott, MESSA Field Representative. “We want to give you an accurate rate for the best insurance at the best price.”
MAPO members were recently introduced to healthcare, dental and vision products offered by MESSA, which has the largest PPO network in Michigan. All hospitals and over 95% of physicians are in-network with the health plan that offers the deepest discounts in the state. “I’m personally really excited about this,” said MAP Executive Director Fred Timpner. “They have coverage if you are laid off … with no premium. With your worker’s comp, that premium is waved up to three years.”
MESSA takes things one step further with superb customer service. Rather than putting the burden on local bargaining units to do their own bidding for quality healthcare coverage, MESSA representatives take the lead. They are prepared to show employers how MESSA saves them and their employees money, attending negotiations to answer all the Employers’ questions. “We will have a designated team at MESSA to assist with bargaining, open enrollment and member issues,” Scott said. “We are a Union organization. We support the unions. That’s why we are in business.”
Retirees are also eligible for MESSA, with special coverages for those who are Medicaid eligible.
“It’s amazing. I have every confidence we’ll be able to find a plan that not only equals what you have, but will beat it,” Timpner said. “Remember teachers are also concerned with P.A. 152 and the products are designed to fit within those guidelines too."
"Don’t hesitate speaking with your Employer about MESSA just because your contract isn’t up for renewal yet, Timpner said. “If you are in the middle of a multi-year contract, we’ve had some success making presentations to Employers,” Timpner said. “If you can show it’s a win-win situation, the Employer will want to save money too. They won’t want to wait.”
For more information, contact Julie Palmquist at MAP (248) 509-7158 or