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PAT Council Discusses Changes to Health Insurance

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
April 11, 2007

Proposed changes to prescription drug coverage that were presented for consideration at the most recent SPPC meeting were explained to PAT council members on Wednesday. The alternatives detailed would save USNH an estimated $375,000 or $410,000, respectively. As suggested, the increases would be as follows:

Phil Hammond, a PAT representative to the SPPC, said the idea was being floated as a cost-saving measure to help reduce USNH’s $42 million health care premium.

“The only thing that is being discussed is prescription drug coverage,” Hammond said. “It’s not going to be this gets approved and then it’s something else. No other benefit changes are on the table except health care.”

Also suggested was increasing co-payments for short-term physical, occupational, speech and cardiac rehabilitation, which allows 60 visits a year, from no co-payment to $10 per session, and adding a $10 payment for chiropractic treatment, which currently doesn’t require a co-payment.

Sentiment was against the co-pay plans as the $50,000 savings that either would net didn’t warrant the cost to employees, members agreed. There was also some discussion about whether an increase in emergency room fees would be palatable to employees.

“Would a bump in ER costs be better than p.t. (physical therapy) at $10 for 60 visits a year, for example,” said Tracy Boyle, who also sits on the SPPC but can’t vote.

Some members felt the one percent savings (at $410,000) wasn’t “worth talking about.”

“It seems like we’re saying there aren’t enough savings on the table to justify what this could do to somebody who utilizes these benefits,” Boyle said.

In other news, the pair reported on a proposed change to the existing longevity policy for OS workers. While it doesn’t impact PAT employees, Hammond noted as a SPPC representative, he would have to vote on the proposal.

Hammond and Boyle’s two-year terms on the SPPC are coming to an end and Boyle has said she will not run again. Hammond was undecided. Both agreed it would be beneficial for the PAT representative who will take Boyle’s place to attend the next SPPC meeting.

The meetings take place in Concord from 9:30 a.m. until noon.

Chairman Guy Eaton reported that commencement attendance is expected to be about 28,000--up more than 10,000—and that everyone is being asked to volunteer.

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