FEA’s self-insured health care plan is a perennial challenge for both FEA and FSO. In contract negotiations, FSO has foregone salary raises numerous times in order to keep health insurance benefits for dependents and retirees intact. But as FEA employees skew older, age-related injuries, illnesses, and medical conditions drive costs up each year. Meanwhile, poor third party administration and high turnover in FEA’s Human Resources department have interfered with proper management of the plan. Numerous changes to the plan design have been made to increase “cost-sharing” with employees, but these changes have been largely unable to keep premiums down. Despite this, FSO is optimistic that the switch to Aetna, the recent placement of skilled management and staff in FEA HR, and renewed vigilance and creative thinking by both FSO and FEA representatives on the Joint Health Insurance Committee will ensure that access to comprehensive health insurance at low cost remains within reach of all FEA employees and their families.