Expecting couple faces health care change during General Motors strike

Pregnant couple learns they don't have health insurance through GM during the strike

SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT/Gray News) - Tuesday brought a new challenge for United Auto Workers union members who are on strike.

General Motors announced it cancelled the health care coverage for striking workers.

Union members now have to apply for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) health insurance program. It allows people who lose their coverage to continue receiving group health plans, but at a cost.

The UAW Strike Fund is expected to pick up some of that cost.

The timing for this new development couldn't be worse for Hogan and Mary Hentschel.

"We got my first baby coming right now. This is my first strike and I was just informed that General Motors terminated my health insurance," Hogan Hentschel said.

The couple, married four years in December, had a doctor's appointment scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. Their little boy is due Oct. 10.

"So we're just kinda going through our options right now," Hentschel said.

Standing on a picket line outside Saginaw Metal Casting Operations with Hentschel's UAW Local 668 brothers and sisters wasn't originally part of their birth plan. But this electrician apprentice believes the strike is about more than the generation of workers you see here today.

"Fighting for my son right now," Hentschel said.

The Hentschels have been saving money in case something like this happened. They have the baby's room painted and the first-time parents are excited for their future.

"I'm just trying to focus on the positive right now. I've got a beautiful baby boy coming, I'm just trying to focus on that," Hentschel said. "And I'm hoping that the company does the right thing pretty soon."

Union members who have questions about COBRA are asked call their union hall.

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