Staff Congress
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OCTOBER 28, 2002


Darlene Allen Lisa Caskey *Mike Hopper Tina McWain Belva Sammons Stephanie Stewart
Sharon Beller Joy Cecil *David Jessie Pam Moore Dallas Sammons Willis Taylor
Brad Bennington Gaylena Cline Linda Kegley *Carole Morella Rhonda Sloan Jonell Tobin
Larry Besant Rhonda Crisp M. LaFontaine Lora Pace Tim Smith Barbara Ward
T. Bumgardner Lana Fraley Rhonda Mackin Darlene Ramey Doug Snedegar Rick Williams

*Denotes member was absent

Guests: Roger Barker-Director of Human Resources, Gene Caudill-Staff Regent & Director of Physical Plant, Todd Thacker, David Martinat, Robert Catron, Hattie Bear, Frankie Stamper, Joyce Dulin, Lisa Adkins, Edward Beam

Chair Pace called the meeting to order at 1:07 p.m.  A quorum was present. 

Chair Pace informed the Congress that this meeting was called for the sole purpose of talking about health insurance information for the coming year.  We will not discuss anything about dental insurance; as we understand it's all going to stay the same.  We are really just going to talk about money today.  The benefits are going to stay the same.

There were several guests at the meeting and they were welcomed by Chair Pace.  Roger Barker will be making some presentations.  The President and Porter Dailey were invited to attend, but they were both out of town today.

Health Insurance is a hot topic and we have a lot of issues.  Chair Pace asked that members be recognized before speaking.  There will be limitations on time; we would like for the meeting to only last an hour and a half.

The Employee Benefits Committee met last Wednesday and received the numbers for the first time.  The Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee met last Thursday and will have a recommendation and motion later on in the meeting.  Also, the Employee Benefits Committee will meet or take an email vote to make a final recommendation to the cabinet.

Roger Barker displayed a spreadsheet that showed $5,654,118 is the total amount that needs to be collected in 2003 for the plans to break even.  This year, the three plans are priced separately and should support themselves.  Each plan should break even if everything holds true to projections.  Everything is based on the premise that each plan must support itself.  Prices are industry standards.  The percentage is the amount the employee is going to be asked to support.  The university will make every effort possible to fund health insurance at a 75%-25% split with employees.  At some point in time, single base plans are going to have to start paying.  If the single base plan people did not have to pay anything, then the two person and family plans would have to go up to make the tier break even.  No later than Tuesday, November 5, Human Resources will make their official recommendation.  Staff Congress needs to have their recommendation by that date.  If a person is in the cafeteria plan, employees out-of-pocket costs are not the full amount shown on the spreadsheets.  There were several questions or issues raised, they are as follows:

  • How did the university determine their contribution rates?
  • Why did the university lower their contribution for the base plan?
  • Was there a conscious decision to charge for the single base plan?
  • How many people according to EEO category participate in each plan?
  • Why should single plan people pay $31 per month when MSU husband and wife teams will pay nothing?
  • This information is hard to take back to our constituents when we were told at a previous meeting that there were no major changes anticipated with health insurance.
  • University contributions are not consistent for all employees.
  • The university should have considered a graduated payment for lower income employees.
  • Staff Congress needed information concerning MSU husband and wife teams to make an informed decision, but that information was not provided.


Motion: To recalculate the base plan rate proposals by increasing the proposed employee contributions for married and family plans (up to 2002 rates) and reducing the proposed base plan single employee contribution as much as possible
  Proposed:  Personnel Policies & Benefits Committee Seconded:  None Needed Since from Committee
Discussion: Rep. Besant said the committee accepted the 75%-25% split philosophy for future years and accepted single plan people paying something other than zero.  They didn't accept them paying $31 though and want to reduce the rate as much as possible. They also accepted that each plan covered its own cost.  Committee calculations showed that if you took the $5 that the two person plan would save and the $41 that the family plan would save that would generate enough money to reduce the amount to approximately $21 for the single policy.  There was no information available in reference to income brackets of employees so that could not be used in making a decision.  

Staff Regent Caudill asked if the committee had backed away from employees getting the base plan for free.  Rep. Besant said the committee looked closely at employees having to pay; they were guided by the fact that the president said last year that this would be the last time the university would be able to do zero for the single base plan.  Staff Regent Caudill said that the president did not say that.  He said it may well be the last time, not absolutely the last time.  He thinks that it will definitely be unlikely that the single base plan will remain at zero if Staff Congress votes to support a different option.  He thinks we should make the case to keep the single base plan free.  Roger Barker said there is no such thing as free.  The university would have to increase their percentage, but if they didn't do that then the burden would be shifted to the two-person and family plan.  That is the only two things that could happen.

Rep. B. Sammons would like for the committee to look at the issue again and try to come up with a way for the single base plan to be at zero cost to the employee.

Rep. Kegley said that her constituents are saying that there is nothing that says they have to keep the policy.  If they have to pay, they will opt out and not have insurance at all.  If they get sick they will make payments to the hospital.

Rep. Stewart thinks we need to try to compromise.  It would be easier for employees to pay $10 or $15 instead of $31.  There is no money in the budget.  We should not ask for all or nothing.

Question Called: Proposed:  Rep. B. Sammons Seconded:  Rep. Stewart
Called for Hand-Count Vote: Motion defeated


Motion: To take this information back to the Personnel Policies and Benefits Committee and allow them to come up with another plan so the employee will not have to pay for the single base plan
  Proposed:  Rep. B. Sammons Seconded:  Rep. LaFontaine
  Rep. B. Sammons withdrew her motion in favor of making a new motion.  Rep. LaFontaine agreed.


Motion: To go with the plan on the screen for the 2003 year (cost for the single base plan would be zero, two-person plan would increase $31 per month and family plan would increase $71 per month)
  Proposed:  Rep. B. Sammons Seconded:  None
Discussion: Rep. Crisp said she understood the burden of paying $31 per month for the single base plan people, but it would be hard for the people with the family plan to pay $71 extra also.  The committee recommendation seemed fairer for everyone.

Rep. Moore thinks that if more people are covered on a plan they should have to pay more.

  Motion Dead


Motion: To accept the original plan from the Human Resources Employee Benefits Committee
  Proposed:  Rep. Bennington Seconded:  Rep. McWain
Discussion: Guest Ed Beam asked if the HMO and Premium plans are a choice, why does the university contribute more money to those and less to the base plan.  

Roger Barker said the keyword is choice.  It's only a choice if it is financially feasible.  Choice is good for all of us.  People with the HMO pay considerably more out of their pocket.  People value having a choice.

Question Called: Proposed:  Rep. Besant Seconded:  Rep. Stewart
Called for Hand-Count Vote: Motion passed 12-6


The next meeting will be November 11 in 116 Breckinridge.

Motion: To adjourn
  Proposed:  Rep. Stewart Seconded:  Rep. Williams

Minutes submitted by:  Rhonda Crisp, Secretary