March 2010

Union Plus Benefits Help Ease Medical Expenses
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Mansfield, Ohio, Local 688 member Paul Nance lost his manufacturing job five years ago. He kept his union membership and health benefits, knowing that a medical catastrophe could lead to financial ruin without health insurance.

But despite the coverage, surgery, high deductibles, steep co-payments and massive out-of-pocket costs left the 22-year member struggling financially. Maintaining his union membership and his IBEW Union Plus credit card qualified him for a $1,000 Union Plus Hospital Care grant.

Hospital Care Grants are available to union members who participate in the Union Plus credit card, mortgage or insurance program and who face out-of-pocket hospital expenses that are at least 10 percent of household income for a hospitalization of the member, spouse or dependent within the last 12 months.

Nance, who is now fully recovered, said the application process was easy. "It didn't take long at all for us to receive a check in the mail," said Nance, who is working at a local food processing company as he searches for a job in industrial wiring.

Union Plus also offers assistance in negotiating medical bills. The service provides union members with large out-of-pocket medical bills (more than $400) free assistance negotiating medical bill reductions with physicians, hospitals and other medical providers. This typically saves between 25 and 50 percent of the total bill.

"Being a union electrician has been one of the greatest things in my life, it has given me the opportunity to provide a good living for my family," said Nance, who pays his union dues faithfully and carries his union card proudly.

The grants are part of a comprehensive package of safety net programs called Union SAFE, which helps union members through financial counseling, college savings grants, disability assistance and assistance to avoid home foreclosures. To find out more, visit

To apply for a Union Plus credit card, call 1-800-522-4000.

Mansfield, Ohio, Local 688 member Paul Nance received $1,000 toward his medical bills.