Volume 123, No. 4April, 2023

As we previously reported in Allegro, Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield will replace Aetna as our network provider as of April 1. However, Empire does not expect to have mailed out individual ID cards by April 1.The many ways in which our fund’s benefits are custom-tailored to our participants and diverge from any of Empire’s own insured plan offerings has presented Empire with challenges. Empire assures us that our “census” (list of current participants) and benefit offerings will be online by April 1, but that participants will not have ID cards in hand by then. This will NOT prevent those covered by the plan from accessing medical help as needed after April 1.

  • If you need to verify eligibility over this coming weekend (Saturday April 1st and Sunday April 2nd), you may contact a member of Empire’s Health Guide team at (844)-995-1737. They will be able to identify you based on your Social Security number. Dependents will be listed under the insured member’s Social Security number, not their own.
  • Beginning Monday, April 3rd, you can reach out to Empire’s “First Impressions” customer service team at 855-603-7981. Click here to download a PDF of a temporary card listing our Group ID number. Please note that this customer service number is only available Monday to Friday between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM. The First Impressions team at 855-603-7981 is specially equipped to handle your inquiries. You may direct customer service to reach out directly to your healthcare provider if there are questions regarding your benefits and eligibility
  • Also, click here to download a PDF of a “Transition of Care” form to be completed and submitted to Empire if you have been receiving care for a life-threatening or disabling medical condition, and pregnancy past the first trimester.  If you fall into one of those categories and your healthcare provider is outside of the Empire network, you have the right to request continuation of services by filling out this form. If you meet the requirements, Empire may cover treatment for your condition as in-network for up to 60 days. You can also use the “Transition of Care” form to request case management. An Empire case manager can assist you in handling complex conditions, chronic illnesses, hospitalizations and other treatment needs
  • For more information, please see this e-mail blast that we sent out to all Plan A participants.

In order to check on whether your healthcare providers are participating with Empire Blue Access, go to . You don’t need to log in. Although you haven’t been assigned an ID number yet, you can just enter the code CFT to search for participating providers.

NOTE: If you currently qualify for prescription benefits through the Local 802 health plan, you may continue using your Express Scripts benefits and card as usual. Our prescription benefits are not affected by the changeover to Empire described above.

In other news, the trustees have decided to continue providing free COVID tests to participants through at least the next quarter, into June. We’ll notify participants of any changes to that benefit (if there are any) after the June trustee meeting.

If you have questions with any of this, please call (212) 245-4802 and ask for the Local 802 Health Benefits Department or send an e-mail to