Staff Congress
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OCTOBER 19, 2004


Darlene Allen Rhonda Crisp David Jessie Rhonda Mackin Belva Sammons *Willis Taylor
Ed Beam *Ray Crum Linda Kegley Amy Moore Dallas Sammons Cindy Thompson
Lisa Caskey Kim Fultz Donna King Pam Moore Rhonda Sloan Jonell Tobin
Joy Cecil Phillip James M. LaFontaine April Nutter Doug Snedegar Terry White
*Gaylena Cline Kristie Jenkins Jeffrey Liles Darlene Ramey *Stephanie Stewart Elizabeth Williams

*Denotes member was absent

Guests: President Eaglin, Mike Walters, Vice-President of Administration & Fiscal Affairs, Roger Barker, Director of Human Resources & Gene Caudill, Staff Regent

Chair Jessie called the meeting to order at 2:00  p.m.  A quorum was present.  Guests were welcomed.

Chair Jessie introduced President Eaglin then turned the floor over to him to discuss the 2005 insurance rates.  

Dr. Eaglin began by saying that insurance issues are not just at MSU, they are nationwide.  He stated that as years have gone by there have been major changes that have increased the cost of health care and insurance.  He went on to state that insurance is the second largest University item behind salaries in the budget.  Dr. Eaglin stated that when he first arrived at MSU insurance costs were at the bottom part of our budget.  He also stated that his goal has been, as insurance costs skyrocket, to make sure we all take care of ourselves to keep healthcare costs down.  If this is not done society has to pick up part of the bill.  He went on to state that lifestyles cause some of the health problems that many individuals have.  There has to be an understanding of what MSU and it's employees can do regarding health insurance.  He stated that MSU would try to stay with the 75/25 rule.  However, as costs keep going up this has become a moving target.  He also stated that he has been accused of trying to have just one plan, which is not his objective. 

Dr. Eaglin stated that every year the Benefits Committee, Faculty Senate and Staff Congress bring suggestions to him regarding healthcare.  This Staff Congress brought forth six recommendations.  Dr. Eaglin reported that two of these six recommendations will be implemented into our insurance plans for 2005.  These recommendations are that co-pays count toward deductibles and maximum-out-of pocket expenses and that lab tests and x-rays are deemed preventive and should be included with co-pays for doctor visits.

Dr. Eaglin went on to say that the HRA accounts help with deductibles and co-pays for those on the CDHP plan.  He informed Staff Congress that the amount the University contributes to HRA accounts will not be increased for 2005.  Dr. Eaglin stated that presently the University pays almost 78% of insurance premiums and that they are trying to keep premiums as low as possible.  He went on to say that he felt we needed a wellness program for those with high risk behavior.  He stated that he does realize some individuals have no control over this behavior due to genes, metabolism problems, etc.  He agreed with allowing lab tests and x-rays counting toward co-pays for doctor visits because he felt these are preventive measures that are used to ward off something more serious later.  Hopefully, these changes will help improve our long-range health.  He went on to state that any cost associated with making these two changes to our plans would be absorbed by the University.  He stated that we have to look at the University as a whole, not as individuals.  We are making decisions that are the fairest to the group.

Dr. Eaglin then displayed a chart on the overhead projector to further explain insurance costs for 2005.  He explained that the reserve amount listed on the chart is needed in order for MSU to handle catastrophic situations.  He indicated  that this amount comes as a group effort.  Presently we have $710,000 and we need $1,203,000; therefore, we are $493,355 short.  The amount needed to reach our reserve will be covered 100%  by the University. He explained that we will need $6,303,235 for the coming year.  In order for MSU to remain self insured, it will cost $5.8 million.  Of this amount, employees pay $1.28 million and the University pays a little more than $4.5 million.  This makes 22% covered by employees and 78%  covered by the University.  The 78% paid by the University does not include the $493,000 needed for reserve.

Dr. Eaglin stated that last year we had two programs, the POS and CDHP.  The CDHP came with an HRA account that help off-set co-pays and deductibles.  Last year this plan cost $297,000 of which employees paid $37/month premiums.  The University is not increasing the premiums on the CDHP plan for 2005.  Dr. Eaglin explained that the POS plan cost $417/month for 2004.  Employees in that plan paid $92/month in premiums.  For 2005, CA will charge $540/month, this is a 30% increase from 2004.  Therefore, the University will increase insurance premiums for the POS plan by 30%.  For 2005, the premiums for POS plans will go up as follows:  $27 more for single coverage, $40 more for 2-person coverage and $72 more for family coverage.  Premium increases in the POS plan are due to the fact that this plan costs more to operate.  Again, Dr. Eaglin stressed that the University is not trying to get rid of the POS plan. 

Dr. Eaglin asked Staff Congress if there were any questions regarding the premiums for 2005 or other questions regarding insurance.  Lora Pace stated that she personally had no problems with her FSA accounts but has had many problems with the HRA account and child care account.  She stated that her main problem has been the length of time it takes to receive a check from the HRA account or her child care account.  She went on to say that just in the past two weeks she finally received a check for child care and medical expenses that was filed months ago.  She felt that the delay in receiving checks from these accounts made it hard to sell participation in this plan.  Rep. A. Moore stated that employees can opt out of automatic reimbursements and file these claims themselves.  Dr. Eaglin asked Roger Barker if anything was being done to correct this problem.  Roger Barker replied that "we are going to look into this" and said that "this has been a major flaw with this program".  He went on to state that this is a manual run program.  Rep. A. Moore stated that maybe people would be more interested in filing these reimbursements themselves in order to save the money for something more catastrophic.  Rep. D. Sammons stated that she does not feel that everything was explained up front to employees regarding the CDHP plan.  Dr. Eaglin stated  he felt that it should be more user-friendly.  Regent Caudill asked if local pharmacies had been contacted regarding a prescription plan rather than going through the IPS program.  Roger Barker responded that two local pharmacies have expressed an interest in working with MSU on this for 2005.  He also stated that this is a service provided by Commonwealth Administrators.  Regent Caudill asked if HR ever did cost comparisons on drugs with local pharmacies.  Roger Barker stated that cost comparison is the responsibility of the consumer.  Rep. B. Sammons stated that in a class she took they did a cost comparison on the most popular drugs and found that there were only pennies difference in cost.  She went on to say that in their study they found Wal-Mart to be a penny or two higher.  Dr. Eaglin stated that he has done his best at making sure MSU employees have the best possible plan.  He suggested that everyone join committees on campus dealing with benefits in order to have their voices heard.  Rep. P. Moore questioned why we have two levels where there is no cost to employees if both husband and wife works at MSU.  Dr. Eaglin responded that this is part of being in the plan.  Everyone is contributing; some may be contributing more than others.  He went on to say that some employees never take out of the plans what they put into them and we, as a group, should be glad of this.  Dr. Eaglin did state that the University doubled up on the amount of premiums for the married couples working here.  He stated that if the University is being unfair he apologized but he really has no way of handling this issue.  Vice-President Walters stated that in regards to the response time of CA, this is something that needed to be fixed.  He encouraged all to let OHR know when they have problems in getting reimbursements back from CA.  He stated that he had problems opting out of the automatic reimbursements and that this may have to be taken care of on a case-by-case basis.  He stated that employees should let the OHR know of the problems they are having. 

Dr. Eaglin stated that Staff Congress had been very mature with their attitude in trying to make the insurance plans better.  He stated that Staff Congress has always put the University first and as long as they continued to do this he felt the new President would assist us.

Rep. Crisp asked if there was a web site that employees could go to check the status of claims and reimbursements.  Roger Barker stated that there was.  Rep. B. Sammons then asked where was the web site.  Roger Barker stated that you have to go through the CA web page to view this information.  Rep. Jenkins stated that we have a web site through CHA but not CA.  She went on to state that in order to view this through CA you have to call them and request that it be setup for you to view.


Chair Jessie announced that the November meeting for Staff Congress had been moved to Monday, November 8.

Regent Caudill announced that Presidential candidates would be on campus the second week of November for interviews.  He asked that everyone try to attend one of their forums and ask questions and then complete questionnaires on each candidate so the Board of Regents will see how the University community feels about each candidate.

Motion: To adjourn
  Proposed:  Rep. James Seconded:  Rep. A. Moore
Called for Vote: Motion was passed.

Minutes submitted by:  Lisa Caskey, Secretary