I talk to a lot of agents and a few issues continue to arise. The following issues don’t always present themselves as a problem, but they are worth taking the time to mention in this setting so you may get the needed information or at least know that there is an opportunity to call someone for assistance. While the issues don’t arise in an extremely high frequency they do happen often enough within the 8,000 plus agents across the country.
Did You Know??? For Colonial Supplemental Insurance forms, I fill out the “To be completed by employer” portion. You fax the one-page form to me at 214-358-6010 (union fax #) and call me and let me know how I can get the completed form back to you. Please be advised that I do not send the form directly to Colonial for you.
You must consult with the insurance company via your adjuster to affectively attempt to change workers compensation treating physicians. Do not decide on your own to end treatment with “the company doctor” and begin treatment with “your own doctor” without getting proper direction and forms from your adjuster with the OJI insurance provider When a male agent’s wife is expecting, he should fill out two FMLA applications, one for “care of the family member” and one for “baby-bonding”. The application for care of the wife allows the agent protection so that he can take her to her last appointments and be with her and care for her as soon as she begins laboring for the birth. This would also protect him if she has false alarms. An issue often arises if the labor goes on for more than one day and the baby is actually born the next day. Remember, baby bonding coverage starts on the baby birthday. Recently updated administration of Southwest’s Baby Bonding FMLA policy dictates that the baby bonding leave must be taken in a “continuous block of time”. The union recognizes that a continuous block of time has been defined as four (4) or more consecutive days of FMLA. Please be sure to request baby bonding time in advance as the administrative documents require. Colonial Insurance If you have purchased a policy from Colonial Insurance, you will be required to fill out a lot of documents. Your doctor will need to fill out medical forms confirming your condition and it would seem appropriate for the station administration or Attendance & Leave department to have to confirm some information about your status. The last of these, the confirmation of your status, the form that says “to be completed by your employer” actually comes to me to sign. Before sending the document, the agent usually calls me and lets me know he is faxing it and I sign it and send it back to you, not to the insurance company. Although, TWU Local 555 is not your employer, I, in my capacity as Leave Specialist, am given the task of being the contact for Colonial to follow up with regarding your offwork/ return-to-work status. I initially and periodically follow up with SWA through the Senior Manager of Employee Resources Salary Administration to verify your off-work status. On the Job Injury Once you file a worker’s compensation claim with a supervisor and are sent to the initial visit with the company doctor, it would be in your best interest to continue treatment with that doctor and follow his/her treatment regimen in order for your claim to be covered under OJI and not your regular medical insurance. All too often agents have been going to the initial doctor’s appointment and requesting/asking/demanding to see another doctor and not the so called “company quack”. I am not telling you to treat with someone who is giving you ‘bad’ treatment, but I also want your time off work to be protected and your claim to be accepted by the insurance company from day one. The best chances for that occurring is for you to treat with that company doctor until the insurance adjuster contacts you and lets you know what options you have. At that time you can lodge your complaint against the company doctor (or quack, whatever the case may be). The insurance adjuster will send over the required paperwork so that process might go a little smoother. Because of the nature of the beast that is OJI, you might be injured at a time or a day that the insurance company is closed for business and an adjuster may take several days to contact you. They usually quote 72 hours before the adjuster will contact you, but they work 8-5 and five traditional days perweek (i.e. Mon-Fri). I ask that you be patient and know that I’d rather see your days off work be protected and the claim stay under workers compensation than see you change doctors so hastily that no paperwork can be filed properly. FMLA I get to congratulate many male agents when you find out that your wife is expecting a child. I also have the responsibility to inform you of your rights and ensure that you get to spend as much time as you can afford to be off with her during her pregnancy. The following types of FMLA are unpaid unless you leave in one of a handful of special states. To that end, please know that you have the opportunity to “care for your family member” during a high risk or complicated pregnancy and when the doctor advises that she can no longer drive herself. Upon finding out she is pregnant and in the midst of severe morning sickness or serious mood swings most obstetricians will fill out paperwork so that you can care for and emotionally support your wife. Please understand that this federal protection is a benefit for you to have for your wife, not your girlfriend and likely not the common-law partner unless other documents can be provided to assist you in garnering the approval. As the time of the birth approaches you will likely fill out another approval for “baby-bonding”. Proof of birth will be sent to Attendance & Leave to confirm the date that the need began. Please know that once the baby is born, approval for the wife usually ends, unless complications from the pregnancy are present and the baby-bonding approval won’t start until the baby is actually born. If you remember these few “need-to-know” facts that I have just explained, you will find it easier to use your benefits.
• Your Colonial payment won’t be delayed because you don’t know who fills out the form.
• You will not suffer days not being covered by workers compensation or have your claim turned over to Sick Leave because the proper paperwork was not completed ahead of time.
• You will be able to spend as much time as you can afford to with your wife and not miss one moment of the labor and delivery process.