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Open Forum on Health Care Changes

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
April 13, 2011

An open forum took place April 13 to discuss planned reductions to medical benefits for USNH nonunion employees as approved by the USNH board of trustees in February. The forum was broadcast live to the Manchester campus.

Trustees have approved a reduction in benefits systemwide in an effort to trim the budget by more than $8 million annually. The changes include eliminating the $500 HRA, USNH becoming self-insured, using a national pharmacy benefit company to administer the pharmacy benefits, and saving $2 million through a redesigned medical plan.

���I want to make it clear that no decision has been made,��� said David Proulx, interim assistant vice president for Human Relations. ���There is still a lot of discussion going on; there are still a lot of moving parts.���

A slideshow presented during Wednesday���s forum reflected the philosophy of the System Personnel and Policy Committee (SPPC), charged with gathering input from employees and making a recommendation to the board of trustees on how to best reduce health care benefits.

Top among the committee���s goals are minimizing the financial and accessibility impact on employees and encouraging positive health behaviors while minimizing costs.  

���The goal of the SPPC and administration is to make impacts as minimal as possible on all employees. However: No matter what is done, it will impact all employees and some more than others,��� one slide read.

The SPPC is weighing two options to gain the majority of the medical benefit savings. One would increase premiums paid by nonunion employees; a 1.5 percent bump for all tiers would save $750,000 annually. Alternatively, the increase could be made per plan. The second option would see the implementation of a deductible; $200 for individuals and $400 for families would save $1.37 million annually. Both propose changes to various co-pays for services.

The SPPC will make a final recommendation to trustees in May. Suggestions and questions can be sent to SPPC representatives at unh.sppc@unh.edu. Updates and reference material can be found at http://www.unh.edu/hr/total-rewards-information.htm.

A 1 percent reduction in USNH retirement contributions goes into effect July 1. The $2 million cut to medical benefits will become effective Jan. 1, 2012 as will USNH���s self-funding of medical and prescription drug plans.  



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