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Medical Insurance Consultants Address SPPC Meeting Regarding Benefits Changes

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
February 23, 2011

Medical insurance consultants who have worked for the University System of New Hampshire (USNH) for the past three years attended the Feb. 18 meeting of the System Personnel Policy Committee (SPPC) to discuss pending changes to medical benefits for staff and nonunion faculty members.

The USNH board of trustees voted Thursday, Feb. 17, to reduce non-unionized employee benefits by more than $8 million annually system wide by 1) self-funding the system’s medical and prescription drug programs for an annual projected savings of $3.3 million; 2) redesigning the employees’ medical plan (co-pays, deductibles, i.e.) to save $2 million annually; eliminating the $500 HRA benefit, for an annual projected savings of $1.5 million, and reducing USNH’s retirement contributions by $1.8 million annually.

According to a memo from David Proulx, interim assistant vice president of Human Resources, discussion by the SPPC focused on the proposed changes to the retirement and medical plans.

Recommendations for reducing retirement contributions need to be developed and submitted to the administrative board by April. The conclusion was that the easiest way to get to the targeted savings is to reduce the USNH match by 1 percent; however, campuses need to discuss the issue and then provide input to SPPC before consensus on a recommendation can be reached.

Representatives from Strategic Benefit Advisors Inc., the medical insurance consulting firm, offered scenarios on how $2 million might be reduced from the medical plan by adjusting co-pays and premium sharing as well as instituting a deductible.  The SPPC agreed it needed more information to help understand the impact of the different scenarios. 

Recommendations from the council on how to redesign the medical plan also need to be made by April.

To view a summary of the recommendations approved Feb. 17 by the board of trustees go to http://www.unh.edu/unhedutop/summary-proposed-compensation-changes. To view the Total Rewards report visit http://www.usnh.edu/hr/total_rewards.html

Proulx is working with the SPPC and the OS, PAT and EE Councils to determine the best way for employees who want to be part of the discussions to do so. He also is coordinating with John Aber, provost and vice president for academic affairs, and Jan Nisbet, senior vice provost for research, to bring non-tenure track faculty into the discussion as well.


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