It was bound to happen. General Motors (GM) will be announcing to the salaried employees that they too will share the pain of changes to the health care provided by the company, starting January 1.
The announcement, confirmed by GM spokesperson Deborah Silverman, is due today -- just weeks after the company stunned the salaried retirees with the cancellation of health-care benefits for people 65 and over.
This can't be entirely unexpected for the 36,400 remaining salaried employees, who are also awaiting further details of the cuts to their numbers announced at the infamous July 15 press conference.
Employees will receive the news by email sometime later today. Silverman would not comment on the contents, as she said it's an internal, confidential email for employees only.
was able to review a list of many of the intended changes provided by a person familiar with the situation. Here are some of the alterations on that list.
The increase doubles retail co-pays for generic drugs to $10, and raises it between $3 and $5 for preferred brands. Mail-order co-pays are doubled, up $10 for generics, up $5 for preferred brands and up a whopping $25 for non-preferred brands.
Vision is not excluded from the pain, with a tripling of the monthly contribution for a family to $9 per month.
Dependent children will no longer qualify for GM health care beyond the end of the year in which they turn 24 years old. Coverage will be available through COBRA in these cases, which is a legal requirement in any case, and allows a person to pay the full cost of coverage plus a maximum of 2% to maintain health care for an 18-month period.
Dental care is now subject to an annual $100 deductable for a family and an additional $5 per month contribution. Crowns will become even more expensive, with a doubling of the contribution -- now you will have to pay 40% of the cost.
The good news is that the Flexible Spending Account for health will be increased from $5,000 to $7,500. This will allow for employees to put away more tax free dollars throughout the year but they should beware of the need to spend those dollars. The dependent care account will remain at $5,000.
The Flexible Compensation Payment for employees is to be suspended, but they will retain the flex comp additional days without having to pay for them; that's five days for regular active employees and three days for flexible service employees.
Additional changes affecting all drivers under company vehicle programs are due to be announced later.
GM says in its announcement to the employees that "It is difficult to implement these changes considering the many contributions each of you make on behalf of our Company. Unfortunately, the times require them. We attempted to avoid modifying those compensation and benefits areas that you have told us are of greatest importance to you. Your understanding and continued support are genuinely appreciated."
Gavin Magor joined TheStreet.com Ratings in 2008, and is the senior analyst responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to health insurers and supporting other health care-related consumer products, including Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance and elder care information. He conducts industry analysis in these areas. He has more than 20 years' international experience in credit risk management, commercial lending and analysis, working in the U.K., Sweden, Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. He holds a master's degree in business administration from The Open University in the U.K.