Labor Management
January 7, 2010

Microsoft Office document icon lm-report-jan-2010.doc


ProAir Inhalers Now Available for $0 Copay
January 7, 2010

Through the cooperative efforts of the USW/PEF Joint Committee on Health Benefits, a brand name drug called ProAir HFA, which is an inhaler for asthma and related conditions, has been moved from Tier 2 to Tier 1 on the informedRX formulary. As a Tier 1 drug, ProAir is now available for $0 copay at retail or the mail service pharmacy. This change took effect on November 1, 2009.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated that albuterol inhalers containing the propellant chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) be discontinued from the market by December 31, 2008. They were replaced by albuterol inhalers containing a more environmentally friendly propellant known as hydrofluoroalkane (HFA). Several HFA inhalers are available as alternatives to albuterol CFC inhalers; however, they are available only as brand name medications.

In early 2009, when generic inhalers were no longer available, USW members contacted USW representatives on the Joint Committee on Health Benefits because paying the brand name copay was a financial burden. As a result, the Committee worked to find a way to make at least one brand name inhaler available on Tier 1 of the formulary so it would be affordable for everyone. If you or a covered dependent currently use an inhaler other than ProAir, you may wish to ask your doctor if it is appropriate to try ProAir.

If you have any questions, please contact Deborah Stayman.


Contract Information for Benefit Plan
January 11, 2010

Have a question about a benefit? Did Blue Shield reject a claim you believe they should have paid? Call the plan first. If the answer you receive isn’t satisfactory, call or e-mail Barbara Telasky ([email protected], or ext. 214 in Albany), who is PEF’s liaison to each plan. If the matter remains unresolved, or you prefer not to speak to Barbara directly because the matter is sensitive, contact Deborah Stayman ([email protected]) or ext. 286 in Albany.


Telephone Number


Blue Shield of Northeastern New YorkCustomer Service 888-840-6322
Find a Provider 800-810-2583
(formerly NMHC)
Davis Vision800-999-5431https://idoc.davisvision.com/davis/member/member_login.asp
Health Care Spending Account & Dependent Care Account518-785-0115/800-233-3394 Shannon McMeel - Corporate Benefit Planninghttp://www.takecareplans.com/cbp/home.asp


Think Flu Season is Behind Us? Think Again
January 11, 2010

Here it is January and you’ve been one of the lucky ones who haven’t gotten sick with seasonal flu or the nasty H1N1 flu. Perhaps you tried to get vaccinated in the fall when vaccine supplies were limited and being reserved for high-risk groups. Then the holidays came, everyone was busy, and you’re fine so why bother?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the NYS Department of Health, although flu activity (caused by either 2009 H1N1 or seasonal flu viruses) may rise and fall, it is expected to continue for several more months. January through March is typically peak flu season. Vaccination is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.  Because supplies of the 2009 H1N1 vaccines have increased dramatically, CDC is now encouraging everyone who has been patiently waiting to receive the H1N1 vaccine to get vaccinated at this time. Vaccine supplies are plentiful and there is no charge for the shot if you receive it at a public health clinic. You can also receive it from your doctor but ask first if you will be charged a copay.

For more information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

NYS Dept of Health

The NYS DOH website includes a page that identifies free H1N1 clinics in every county