The UMTA Trust was established in 1950 under a collective bargaining agreement between the Portland Metal Trades Council and United Metal Trades Association to provide group benefit programs to bargained employees. Like most group health programs of the time, the UMTA Trust was formed as a not-for-profit entity, but it represented a new approach to workplace benefits. Support from the labor community was key to the success of the program, as metal trades unions negotiated Trust coverage into collective bargaining agreements, fulfilling their pledge to provide comprehensive benefits to their members.
By the mid-1950s, insurance companies recognized the potential to profit from selling health policies. Even as health benefit programs became increasingly driven by business considerations, the UMTA Trust remained true to its not-for-profit mission. Participation in the Trust allowed groups to pool their resources, share the risk of increasing medical costs and tailor programs to the needs of their workforce.
The pooled resources of the original UMTA Trust groups have grown substantially through years of regular contributions and sound investment management. The original basic benefit allowances (including $10 per day hospitalization and $5.00 for a doctor’s house call) have given way to today’s expansive array of medical coverage options, with numerous PPO plans offered alongside traditional HMO plans, as well as fee-for-service and managed care dental options.
For over 70 years, the UMTA Trust has been dedicated to the enduring welfare of working families.