CUCFA met with UCOP Human Resources re: employee health benefits
To DFA Members: DFA and CUCFA meeting with UCOP Human Resources to discuss changes to employee health benefits. Request for your input.
The Chair of the Davis Faculty Association, Ian Kennedy, Myrna Hays, Executive Director of the DFA, Craig Flanery, Secretary of the Council of UC Faculty Associations (CUCFA), and Eric Hays, Director of External Relations for CUCFA, met with the Human Resources Department of the Office of the President on the 11th of April 2007 to discuss changes to our health benefits package.
The UC Office of the President has requested bids from providers of health benefits for employees and retirees; this process takes place every five years or so. All current providers, with the exception of Kaiser and Western Health Advantage, have been invited to bid. Kaiser and WHA will be retained but they have also been asked to implement wellness programs and other modifications to their current offerings. The bid process has requested offers of specialized services for such areas as mental health, chronic disease management, and prescription drug benefits that may be offered separately from the main plans or as supplemental coverage.
UC expects “low double digit” inflation in employees’ health insurance costs. At present, the University pays 86% of the total costs for health insurance. DFA will track how that fraction changes with time. There will clearly be a temptation for the University to shift more costs onto employees.
We were clearly told that there are no guarantees of continued coverage of all retiree health insurance costs, but UC remains committed to maintaining parity between active employee and retiree health plans (otherwise it would seem obvious that they may have a problem getting employees to retire). Retiree benefits are funded by a “tax” of $2.75 for every $100 of all fund sources for all units of the University. The State is supposed to contribute – for the last two years the State contributed zero. This year the Governor’s budget includes $10 M, a fairly paltry fraction of the total $200 M cost of retiree benefits. Retirees will continue to be classified in Pay Band 2 (currently $43,001–$86,000) for the purposes of calculating premiums.
The representatives from Human Resources claimed that there will be minimal disruption to the choice of physicians and on-going care as a result of this process. If members do experience problems, they should let DFA know so that we can communicate the issues to the University Human Resources Department. Redacted copies of the bids will be sent to CUCFA in mid-summer. We shall analyze the bids and send a brief description to our members. At that time we expect to learn more about the various options, including what specialty services might be offered and how they would fit with faculty interests.
We raised the issue of the current paucity of useful information that is available about insurance plans that can allow members to make informed choices. UCOP representatives urged us to provide advice about useful metrics for performance. Hence, we urge members to send us ideas for gauging performance of health plans – satisfactory resolution of direct billing disputes between doctors and insurance companies is one example where more information would be helpful. We might also influence UC to continue to offer plans that enable faculty to keep their current health care providers. Please send your thoughts and suggestions by email to Myrna Hays at the DFA.
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