Member Stories

Signalman Tracks Down Big Savings for His Mom

Kelly Haley has worked far and wide during his 40 years as a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS). In 1977, he started out on a railroad signal gang that worked across Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Kansas. In 2001, Haley went to work for the union outside Chicago, and today he works as the Vice President Headquarters at the BRS’s grand lodge in Front Royal, Va. 


While Haley loves working for the union, it’s taken him far from home in Texas, where his mother still lives. Haley’s mom is well, but she’s a widow and has to make ends meet on a fixed income. Recently, she learned her Medicare prescription drug costs were going to balloon to $900 a year — that’s $75 every month. “For her, that’s two weeks of groceries,” says Haley. “We knew we had to do something.” 

Fortunately, Haley knew about Union Plus retiree health benefits available to union members and their family members who are Medicare eligible. “I’m the Signalmen’s liaison to Union Plus and I had just attended a meeting about the eHealth service for retirees,” Haley says. 

The Union Plus Retiree Health Insurance Program lets union members, retirees — and even Medicare eligible family members who aren’t in a union like Haley’s mom — navigate Medicare plan options and choose the plan that’s right for them. While Haley was visiting his mom, they went to the Union Plus website and accessed information about retiree health insurance. 

“In just 20 minutes, we saw all her options online and realized just how much she could save,” says Haley. Using Union Plus, they found a Medicare prescription drug plan that cut her costs from $75 a month to $16.70 a month — a $700 annual savings. 

“When you’re living on a fixed-income, that’s huge,” says Haley. “I’d strongly recommend the Union Plus Retiree Health Insurance Program to any union member who’s nearing Medicare age or with family members nearing or in retirement. I was really impressed at how easy it was to get the answers, and the savings, my mother needed.” 

Here’s how the Union Plus Retiree Health Insurance Program works: You enter information about your budget and health needs into the online recommendation tool. Then it compares plans in your area based on monthly premiums, annual deductibles, as well as copayments and coinsurance for various services. There’s no obligation to enroll in a plan and no additional cost for using the Union Plus service if you do. 

For members who prefer a live person to a computer, the Union Plus Retiree Health Insurance Program also has licensed insurance advisors you can call to get the information you need over the phone. 

“Taking those 20 minutes to check out the Union Plus retiree health care program has made a big difference for my mom,” says Haley. “She’s getting the same medicines she was before, but at a price she can afford.” 

“This is just one of the great Union Plus benefits available to our members,” says Haley. “Even though I’m the liaison for the Union Plus program, I’m still learning about some of them.” Altogether, Union Plus offers more than 25 benefit and discount programs to union members and their families. 

To learn more about the Union Plus Retiree Health Insurance Program, visit unionplus.org/medicare.