Local 1000 Continues to Prioritize Member Health Care
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how important it is that we take active care of our health and the health of our communities. As vaccinations roll out and more and more of our community is protected, we must keep up the fight for better and more accessible health care to ensure we are all protected. And SEIU Local 1000 has been helping to lead the fight for a healthier California by demanding lower health care costs.
One of our main goals is working with CalPERS Board members and Health Plan staff on issues like surprise billing and out-of-pocket costs for out-of-network charges. Members are also organizing to fight for better, more accessible, and lower-cost health care for people across the state. This, in turn, has led to productive discussions regarding various sources of costs, from confusing and unclear billing practices to regional differences in cost and care.
One member described their struggle to grapple with the complex health care system, which seemed to throw up roadblocks to care at every turn rather than provide any support. “My son needed surgery in August 2017. I made sure I got all my pre-authorizations with both the hospital and the surgeon well in advance. Surgery day came, everything went well, and he healed with no complications. About three weeks later, I got a bill for $23,000. Coverage for the entire surgery was denied.” To add insult to injury, this member was told it is their responsibility to check to see if the doctors treating their family are in-network. “I asked, how do I know this? I was told ‘There’s an app for that.’” Their area has two in-network hospitals; however, doctors employed by these hospitals are not in-network.
For members outside of major cities, other barriers begin to emerge. An example of rural health care issues occurred in July 2020. A member was scheduled for procedures in Red Bluff, California, approximately 30 miles away from their regular clinic in Chico, which was itself 90 miles away from where they live in Shasta County. After a pre-op appointment on Friday, they were cleared for Wednesday. However, on Monday they received a call telling them that the hospital was refusing to treat them because they did not live in Tehama County.
SEIU 1000’s work to control rising health care costs, ensure quality of care, and pass on any savings to our members begins with learning more about challenges like these that our members are facing. As part of this effort, we’re launching a series of focus groups and a survey to deepen our understanding of the circumstances indigenous to each region.
For questions or concerns, or to get more involved with the Health Care Program, please email us at Healthcare1000@seiu1000.org
Additionally, if you are a Kaiser member and a member of SEIU Local 1000, click here for more information.