Over the life of the current five year contract, the cost of our health care plan has averaged a yearly increase in the low single digits with a cumulative increase under 10% over the last four years. Both management and our union have worked to keep expenses low. Part of that plan was having our union members cover a greater portion of the health care costs. Under the previous contract, employees paid less than 20% of expenses, but in the most recent year, employees paid just under 30% of the total cost of the insurance plan.
Additionally, management began offering certain preventative care provisions free of charge to employees. As they examined the data, the company realized that less than 5% of covered employees would use over a third of the health care dollars spent each year. It was cheaper to treat and find issues early rather than wait until they became health problems.