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None of the Above: PAT Council Doesn't Like Any Proposed Insurance Increases

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 9, 2007

For the second month in a row, the PAT Council failed to find a way to support proposed increases in health insurance co-payments.

The Systems Personnel Policies Council has been asked to review ways the USNH could curb medical benefit expenses. A vote on the proposals will take place at the May 24 meeting in Concord where the PAT representative will give the thumbs down to options that have been presented.

On Wednesday, PAT members discussed the possibilities before unanimously agreeing they wanted their collective vote to be “none of the above.”

Options A and B would add a $10 co-pay for treatments that currently have none. Those services include short-term physical, occupational and speech therapy and cardiac rehab (A) and chiropractic care (B).

The next three detailed increases affect prescription drug benefits, and would increase payments anywhere from one to $10, depending on the tier classification of the drug and whether it is being purchased at a pharmacy or through the mail-away program.

Another means of mitigating costs would be to increase the co-pay to see a specialist from $20 to $25. The last suggestion is to bump primary care and specialist co-pays by $5 each.

PAT representatives repeatedly said they didn’t have enough information to choose any of the options, particularly knowing they can expect a rise in premiums in 2008 and again in 2009.

“Without knowing what we will be paying per year in the future, picking one of these is like throwing darts,” said Robert Anderson, who represents District 8. “There have been discussions on the high and the low option plans but how much is too much? Without the numbers, we don’t know.”

Council member Jane Torth suggested exploring other ways to structure health insurance costs such as having those who earn more money pay more. Scott Bugbee said there is no cost containment with the proposed increases.

The council then approved a motion not to support any of the options, based on the information they had at hand. It was also decided that Chairman Guy Eaton will attend the May 9 OS Council meeting next week to see how they will respond when the issue is called to a vote at the end of the month.

In other business, Mark Rubinstein, vice president for student and academic services, updated the council on student enrollment figures for the upcoming year. It is expected, Rubinstein said, that there will be between 2,550 and 2,600 incoming freshmen, with 55 percent of those being New Hampshire residents.

This year’s total student population was 11,500.

“That’s probably the threshold the university can handle,” Rubinstein said.


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