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Medical, Dental and Vision Benefits in the Event of Furlough

Date: July 24, 2020

Since the announcement of the potential workforce reduction plan for October 1, 2020 concern about the potential loss of medical benefits has been expressed by Flight Attendants and we’ve received a number of questions seeking information about continued protections in the event of furlough.

In the instance of a voluntary furlough, Section 18.A.3.d. of our Agreement provides that a Flight Attendant on voluntary furlough will continue to receive medical and dental insurance coverage as if they were an active Flight Attendant. According to the company’s Voluntary Furlough information packet, if you and your dependents (if applicable) participate in a medical, dental and vision plans for which you pay a monthly contribution, you will be responsible to pay the monthly amount that is normally deducted from your paycheck but on an after-tax basis. Medical and dental coverage will continue throughout your voluntary furlough with benefits, provided you pay your employee contributions. You will receive a notification letter from the United Airlines Benefits Service Center with payment details.

*Note: If you fail to pay for your coverage on time during your voluntary furlough, then your coverage will be terminated and cannot be reinstated until the earlier of (1) your return from voluntary furlough, or (2) the January 1 following the next Annual Enrollment period. For this reason, we recommend that you set up an ACH payment from your personal banking account to ensure timely payment and continued benefit coverage.

On the other hand, if you are placed on involuntary furlough status, you will have access to 18 months of medical and dental COBRA coverage where the first ninety (90) days of coverage are subsidized by the company and you are responsible for the cost of coverage at active rates.  After that, the remaining 15 months of COBRA coverage is available at the full cost of coverage + a 2% administrative fee.

In addition, Flight Attendants may continue their Flexible Spending Account for the remainder of the yearon an after-tax basis. This is important if you wish to submit medical claims incurred after the effective date of your voluntary furlough. You will receive additional information from the Benefits Center within 45 days of the effective date of your furlough. If you have questions you may contact the United Benefits Service Center at 1-800-651-1007.

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