Insurance discussed

YORKVILLE – Several hundred active and retired RG Steel employees – union and non-union, spouses and surviving spouses met at the Yorkville Volunteer Fire Department Thursday, to hear first-hand details of newly available insurance packages for which they may qualify.

Bottom line: healthcare and benefits programs are costly for just about everyone.

For some families enrolling in one of the now available plans will mean coming up with more than $2,400 to use to pay the bills directly.

According to John Saunders, a former president of the Martins Ferry USW Local and one of the key proponents of the idea that this effort will be a successful one for local steelworkers and their families, reimbursement at year’s end will come in a large portion of those monies back into the hands of the purchaser in the form of a tax credits, with the help of a specific government program being coordinated locally through a retraining resources site in Martins Ferry.

The crowd was so large it spilled over onto the adjacent sidewalk, even after the fire department vehicles were removed and parked on the street.

Santo Santoro, USW benefits coordinator for RG Steel workers, said there is a plan being offered which included health, dental and vision benefits for workers getting the federal Health Coverage Tax Credit, which pays for 72.5 percent of premiums; a medical-benefits plan for workers who aren’t qualified for the credit; and a Medicare supplement plan.

The general enrollment deadline for the newly available insurance program is December 31.

As it is being presented to potential consumers, many are getting a first look at the complexities of being involved in the everyday realities the RG Steel bankruptcy continues to touch a new.

Among the insurance programs represented at Thursday evenings were a branch of the Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley, and Anthem, a Blue Cross & Blue Shield program.

Loccisano can be reached at