Health care edition of Currents (.pdf)
Message from President Joel Seligman
August 6, 2007
I am today adopting each of the recommendations of the Task Force on Employee Health Care Plans. These recommendations will become effective January 1, 2008. Each of our 12,000 employees who currently is covered by one of our health insurance plans will need to choose a new plan to become effective on that date. I encourage all covered employees to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about your health care choices through careful review of Open Enrollment kits that will be mailed to your homes in September or October, attending subsequent open information meetings, and using a new Health Care Plan Cost Estimator that will allow each of you to see how each plan fits your individual circumstances.
The Task Force on Employee Health Care Plans, established on January 8, was co-chaired by Dr. Bradford Berk, Senior Vice President of Health Sciences and Chief Executive Officer of our Medical Center, and Ronald Paprocki, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer of the University.
Throughout its deliberations, the task force was ably assisted by Mercer Health & Benefits, which met frequently with the task force to provide data and help analyze alternative approaches. The emphasis on the ultimate review of the task force’s recommendations was on openness. Discussion of the proposals occurred with several focus groups and town hall meetings open to all University employees.
I want to express my personal gratitude to Brad Berk and Ron Paprocki and to each of the members of the task force for their diligent and patient service during the last eight months. They have arrived at plans that are financially sustainable, fair, affordable, and encourage healthy behavior.
“Because the new health care plans are complex, over the coming months, the University will notify faculty and staff of the changes through a detailed communications strategy,” says President Seligman.
When I established the task force, it was against a backdrop of health care insurance costs which had risen from $17 million to $64.5 million between the 1998 and 2007 fiscal years. Approximately 30 percent of this increase was due to increases in the number of our employees, but even when that amount was subtracted from the total, health care costs had grown from approximately $17 million to $45 million or approximately 265 percent during that period. This represented the fastest growing major cost component in the University budget and had the potential to significantly reduce resources available for our University’s primary missions. Mercer estimated that even with no increase in the number of our employees, if no changes were made in our health insurance plans, the University costs would grow to $114 million by the 2012 fiscal year.
Mercer also presented data which highlighted other differences between the plans at the University of Rochester and peer institutions:
I charged the task force to address four specific questions:
The key task force recommendations include:
The University health care plans as adopted are financially sustainable. I will request a comprehensive review in three years.
I urge each of you to read this special Currents for an initial introduction to the new health care plan choices and to use the new Health Care Plan Cost Estimator when it becomes available.
Because the new health care plans are complex, over the coming months, the University will notify faculty and staff of the changes through a detailed communications strategy. In addition to printed and online materials, faculty and staff will have opportunities to have their options carefully explained and their questions answered by representatives from the Third-Party Administrators (Aetna and Excellus) and the Benefits Office. In addition, ASK-URHR (275-8747) continues to serve as a resource for faculty and staff.
Content last modified on: October 27, 2010