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OS Council Sets Recommendations on Benefits Changes

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
February 16, 2011

The OS Council has asked its representatives to the System Personnel Policy Committee (SPPC) to support two recommendations for pending changes to health care benefits that are forthcoming at the suggestion of the USNH board of trustees to help trim the budget system-wide.

Trustees will vote Thursday on a slate of recommendations that reduce the benefits of staff and nonunion faculty by more than $8 million annually. The OS, PAT and EE Councils will provide input on how $2 million of that will be cut from health care benefits. Suggestions from the trustees include upfront deductible and/or higher copayments and payroll deductions for medical coverage.

At its monthly meeting Feb. 9, the OS Council agreed they would rather see the implementation of a deductible based on an employee’s annual income than a fixed amount. The second choice to help reduce medical expenses would be an increase in co-pays.

Several councilors raised the issue of whether deductibles would discourage people from getting medical treatment when needed because they would be responsible for the full cost of visits and tests until their deductibles are met.

As put forth by the board of trustees’ financial affairs committee, the benefit cuts include:

  1. USNH self-funding its medical and prescription drug programs. Annual projected savings: $3.3 million.
  2. Redesigning the employees’ medical plan (i.e. co-pays, deductibles).  Annual projected savings: $2 million.
  3. Eliminating the $500 HRA benefit. Annual projected savings: $1.5 million.
  4. Reducing USNH’s retirement contributions. Annual projected savings: $1.8 million.

There will be no change to vacation, leave time, and longevity pay except for new hires. Staff and nonunion faculty members will maintain their tuition benefits as well.

A summary of the major recommendations is available here: http://www.unh.edu/unhedutop/summary-proposed-compensation-changes

The Total Rewards report is available here:  http://www.usnh.edu/hr/pdf/2_07_11_Total_TR_Presentation_with_appendices.pdf

The trustees based their recommendations on the results of a survey conducted by Towers Watson, a global human resources consulting firm, to determine which benefits employees valued most. USNH sent 3,500 surveys to the staff and nonunion faculty members at all USNH entities; 54 percent responded.



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