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Regional News

Health Insurance Cliff Nears For Furloughed MGM Springfield Employees

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Many workers still furloughed from the MGM Springfield casino will lose their health insurance as of August 31.

The casino partially reopened last month after a nearly four-month shutdown due to COVID-19. The company had continued to pay for employee health benefits while MGM was closed — and after for workers who have remained off the job.

Teamsters Local 404 represents about 50 employees, but only a handful have been brought back to work. Its president, Frank Rossi, said workers losing benefits will have to turn to temporary insurance — known as COBRA.

"Under that scenario, the employee has the pay the entire course of the health [insurance], and it's for a limited amount time, for a year," he said. "So it's going to affect those people dramatically."

Rossi said the contract between the union and MGM Springfield does allow for workers to have an opportunity to be called back to their jobs under the same working conditions as before the shutdown.

MGM has said it will have an update on the situation in the coming days.

The state announced last week that MGM Springfield casino had collected $10.7 million in revenue over the final three weeks of July, after it was allowed to resume some operations.

MGM in May warned the state it could lay off as many as 1,916 of its Springfield employees at the end of August, a number that would have represented the bulk of its pre-pandemic staff. The company has not updated that number, according to filings posted by the state.

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