Joint Councils Get Update on Benefits
By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
September 19, 2007
Members of the OS, PAT and EE councils got a crash course
in health insurance coverage last week when HR representatives
presented “Benefits 101” during a joint meeting
of the three groups.
The benefits briefing was aimed at informing council members
so they can better respond to constituents’ questions
regarding health care coverage.
In 2006, USNH’s total cost for employee benefits was
$88.6 million. Health care and dental insurance accounted for
almost $39 million, or 44 percent, of that. The projected amount
for 2008 is $47 million; even a 10 percent increase is $4.7
Medical premiums increased by 76 percent from Jan. 1, 2001
to Jan. 1, 2007. The total cost of a single HMO standard plan
in 2001 was $3,029. By January 2007, it had risen to $5,326.
Comparatively, a family plan cost $9,008 in 2001 and $15,958
at the start of 2007. In 2008, that figure will rise to about
During the same time period, employee contributions for a
family went from $208 to $2,533 and single coverage rose from
zero to $426.
Reductions in the net cost to USNH are due largely to the
hiring of non-benefits eligible employees, who number just
over 2,200. Projections are that medical premiums will continue
to rise at double-digit rates but UNH revenue will not.
One area that will be explored by HR is whether money can
be saved by using one hospital over another for medical tests
because the cost differs hospital to hospital.
The report noted that maintaining a competitive benefits program
is still USNH’s goal.
“We think we’re doing a whole lot right but it’s
a big problem,” says Joan Tambling. USNH’s HR director. “Employees
are doing their part. We’ve done so many things and it’s
still a problem.
Prior to the presentation, Mark Huddleston met with the OS
Council in an informal get-to-know-you discussion. Calling
communication critical, the new university president spoke
of UNH as a community that requires efforts across the board
to make it work.