LA County workers – important changes to your 2020 medical benefits

If you’re an LA County employee and a member of SEIU 721, a lot has changed when it comes to your health benefits. Read below for the details.


  • Beginning in January 2020 the negotiated County contributions toward the cost of your health care coverage will increase by 2%.
  • There is a monthly cap on “cash back” that you can receive. However, you can spend the surplus contribution on other Options benefits.
  • There is a new lower-cost UnitedHealthcare HMO plan option called Harmony.
  • The Kaiser plans include enhanced vision and hearing aid benefits!

Make sure you understand all of your options before you make your benefit selection during the upcoming annual enrollment period.


If you’re a United Healthcare (UHC) Member: The UHC monthly premium will increase by 7.5% in January 2020. The County contribution will not offset the entirety of this increase, so “cash back” will be reduced for members with Single, 2-Party, and Family coverage. The County contribution will still be sufficient to fully cover the UHC premiums, but “cash back” (additional take-home pay) will be reduced. However, beginning in January 2020, SEIU 721 members will have a new UHC option — called Harmony — that will increase “cash back” and take-home pay.

A new lower-cost option: United Healthcare Harmony: The UHC Harmony network has been designed to provide access to medical providers that use a best-practice model that delivers quality care at a lower price. The Harmony HMO network of doctors, specialists and facilities is smaller than the regular UHC HMO, but the premiums are significantly lower. UHC Harmony members with 2-Party and Family coverage would receive the maximum $325 monthly “cash back,” and those with Single-Party coverage would receive “cash back” of approximately $300 per month (depending on dental plan selection).

If you’re a Kaiser Permanente Member: The increase in the County’s contribution is enough to offset the 2.6% increase in the Kaiser medical premium. However, there is a new cap on the maximum “cash back” that affects Kaiser members with 2-Party or Family coverage. Beginning in January 2020, the “cash back” will be capped at $325/month. But you do not have to lose your surplus health care contribution. You can spend it on other benefits such as a health care spending account to cover copays and other medical expenses, optional life insurance, and long-term disability health insurance.


SEIU Local 721 has been able to secure benefit improvements to your Kaiser Permanente plan. Beginning in 2020, the Kaiser HMO now includes an enhanced vision benefit and a new hearing aid benefit.

Vision: In addition to free routine eye exams, Kaiser members will also receive a $150 allowance for contact lenses every 12 months or eyeglass frames every 24 months, and free regular eyeglasses lenses every 12 months.


Hearing Aids: A $5,000 allowance per year will also be provided to be spent on hearing aid devices, one device per ear each 36 months.



Need tips on how to maximize your benefit dollars? Click here.

Categories: Los Angeles County
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[…] Need more details on changes to your LA County benefits package? Click here. […]


Thank you, I have Kaiser and will soon need hearing aids. I am blind as a bat! Eyeglasses!

Gail Matulaitis

I live in Ventura County (Simi Valley)–I don’t see any doctors in the Harmony Plan in Ventura County–is it limited to L.A. County?


If the new “harmony plan” can’t or wont cover ALL union members then it shouldn’t be an option!!! Where’s the reasoning of having this?
If you live in Ventura or Kern counties, you’re basically out of this option (not by your choice) and you have to pay the higher premiums with less or no cash back option on your paycheck. What’s even worse, those that live in the Antelope Valley area have to travel to Santa Clarita to be seen at the medical office(s) because that’s the closest option?