Staff Congress
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October 9, 2006 Special Insurance Meeting



OCTOBER 9, 2006 - Special Insurance Meeting


Jeff Adkins* Ray Crum* Phillip James* Rhonda Mackin Lonnie Morris Todd Thacker*
Darlene Allen Chris Hampton David Jessie Rebecca McGinnis April Nutter* Jonell Tobin*
Lisa Caskey Shannon Harr* Linda Kegley* Rick Messer Darlene Ramey Terry White
Shannon Colvin Rosemary Hinton* Donna King* Amy Moore Dallas Sammons Elizabeth Williams*
Rhonda Crisp Mike Hopper Margaret LaFontaine* Pam Moore* Doug Snedegar*  

*Denotes member was absent (quorum was not met)

Guests: Michael Walters - Vice President, for Administrative & Fiscal Affairs and Suzanne Hogge - Associate Director, Human Resources

Chair White called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m.  A quorum was not present. 

Chair White informed members that this is a special called meeting to discuss our 2007 Health insurance.  He went on to thank Vice President Walters and Suzanne Hogge for coming to today's meeting to discuss the University's health insurance plans for the coming year.  Chair White then turned the floor over to Vice President Walters.

VP Walters stated that over the past two years the University had not increased premiums on their insurance plans for employees.  This would not be the case for 2007 premiums.  He stated that the University had had one and a half years of high usage that has caused insurance rates to increase this year.  He went on to state that we have had "shock claims" that went over $100,000.  Dr. Andrews has already committed funds in the budget that will delay increases for employees until July 1, 2007.  Employees will see two pay raises, January 1, 2007 and July 1, 2007 before the increase in premiums will take place.  Mrs. Hogge then passed out handouts.  One was the 2007 Health Insurance rates showing what MSU will be paying and what employees will be paying.  The other handout was a Health Insurance Benefits Comparison showing how MSU compares with other state universities as well as the state government insurance plans.  As in the past MSU will be paying 75% of premiums and employees will be paying 25%

Rep. A. Moore asked if the HRA would increase for the 2007 year.  Mrs. Hogge stated that HRA contribution would remain the same for the 2007 year.  Rep. A. Moore asked if it had been discussed to increase the HRA amounts.  Mrs. Hogge and VP Walters both indicated that this was not discussed.  Rep. Colvin stated that there should be an increase in the HRA contribution or benefits.  She also asked if this had been brought up before the Employees Benefits Committee.  Mrs. Hogge responded yes but after it had already been decided on the plans being offered for the coming year.  She went on to state that because of Datatel open enrollment had to be moved up this year and there was not enough time to present this to all groups on campus before a decision had to be made.  She also stated that changes made in the plan last year cost MSU 2% more in cost.  VP Walters stated that it was based on function of cost.  How much money could be afforded to put into plans.  Rep. Colvin stated that any changes in plans or increase of premiums should of been presented to the University Employees Benefits Committee before it was finalized.  She went on to state that this committee should have had some input on this.

Rep. A. Moore stated that last year the 2% increase was in drugs.  She also stated that the University saved money by coming out of the self insurance program.  VP. Walters stated that if we had stayed in the self-insured program premiums would have increased last year.  He also stated that the same coverage and usage was bought at a cheaper rate last year.  Rep. A. Moore went on to state that budgeting procedures should be increased for insurance cost if not what are we doing with money for this.  Rep. Jessie stated that $600,000 was set aside for an anticipating increase.  Mrs. Hogge stated that increased budgeted amount for insurance was 18% increase for the year.  $75,000 for the year by MSU taking increase for seven months.  Rep. A. Moore asked if President Andrews had the same philosophy as Dr. Eaglin in that they put more funds into  plans for family over single plans?  VP Walters stated that he does not recall any discussions about this. He added that rates are based on usage as it was before.  Rep. A. Moore stated that apparently we are still trying Dr. Eaglin's philosophy on this.  VP Walters stated that insurance is a 6.8 million dollar program and that any increase the University plugs into this programs means that another programs has to give up money.

Rep. Hopper asked if MSU had discussed the possibility of adding benefits for domestic partners?  VP Walters stated that he only knows what UK and U of L have done on this subject.  He added that MSU's Board of Regents has not discussed this.

Rep. Jessie pointed out that UK had no comparative plan to the CDHP plan.  He added that UK wrote the book on this and now they are no longer offering the plan.  Mrs. Hogge stated most of UK employees have the UK HMO which requires them to use the UK clinic and hospital. 

Rep. Hopper asked what are the total claims at this point?  Mrs. Hogge stated that MSU had big months in May, June and July.  VP. Walters added that we have not exceeded projected premiums as of date.  Mrs. Hogge added that at the end of July 2 million in claims had been paid.  This amount does not included incurred expenses. 

Rep. A. Moore stated that MSU bided out for health insurance last year how long do we have to stay with CHA?  Mrs. Hogge stated that they bid out for health insurance every four years.  She added that at this time they had no reason to go back out and bid again. 

Rep. A. Moore stated that everything Staff Congress or Employees Benefits Committee has suggested, as far as wellness programs go, have not been approved.  She asked what could be done to control claim cost?  VP Walters replied that controlling cost starts with each individual person.  Each person needs to start living a healthier lifestyle.  Rep. Colvin stated that living a healthy lifestyle will not necessarily control cost.  She added that if there was some type of incentive given to employees to live a healthier lifestyle that maybe more would do so.  VP Walters stated that MSU could do like the state does and start charging more for smokers or more for those overweight but this is not what the University would want to do to employees.

Rep. Hopper asked why MSU does not have a reserve plan that draws interest like WKU has?  VP Walters stated we had a plan similar to this when MSU was self insured.  When we had this plan our premiums exceeded claims filed.  Reserve money was set aside to help cope with bad years.  Our reserve is basically used to pay run out of claims from the last year of being self insured. 

Rep. Morris asked what other schools are doing?  Mrs. Hogge stated that none of the other state universities had rates for her but WKU when she asked for them.  Chair White asked if this was enrollment driven?  Mrs. Hogge stated that percentage wise WKU is paying less than MSU is paying.  VP Walter stated he could not say.  He added that these decisions are based on a year to year basis and would depend on function of usage.  Rep. Colvin then asked if MSU had a higher usage rate than others?  Mrs. Hogge answered she does not have this type of information.  VP Walters added that this could change from year to year.  Rep. Colvin asked if they took current usage rate to determine the future usage and cost?  Mrs. Hogge and VP Walters both replied yes.  They added that everyone is paying for the large claims that have been filed during the past year and a half.

Rep. A. Moore asked if Process Works was working out better than Commonwealth Administrators had and if we were going to continue using them?  Mrs. Hogge replied that yes we would continue using them and that she had not received any complaints on them.  Rep. Colvin asked that Process Works provide more information to employees in the future such as what to do if your card has been revoked.  Mrs. Hogge stated that if they have a questions about a claim, Process Works will contact the employee to tell them what additional paper work is needed to process the claim.  She stated that they usually give the employee 30 days to submit the additional paper work.  If after 30 days they have not received the paper work they will revoke your benefits card.  However once they receive the additional paper work for any questioned claims they will reinstate your card.

Mrs. Hogge told Staff Congress that Open Enrollment will take place October 16 - November 3.  She added that information packs will go out this week in campus mail.  She also stated that Delta Dental rates will remain the same as last year. 

Rep. Morris asked how many universities are self insured?  Mrs. Hogge replied that WKU was but she really could not say about the others.

VP Walters stated that another factor in cost is the networks of providers there are in any given area.  He added that CHA has been sold to Humana.  He also added that this part of the state has the best network of providers available in the state.

Rep. Hopper stated that a dermatologist office he goes to in Lexington has posted a sign that they will no longer accept Humana Insurance.  He asked what employees are to do now that CHA has been bought by Humana about these types of situations?  Mrs. Hogge replied that Humana has absorbed CHA's network.  Any of the providers under CHA should be a provider under Humana.  However providers can decide which networks they choose to belong to.  If a doctor's office is not accepting Humana then you will have to find one that will.

VP Walters stated that healthcare is something that is constantly being reviewed.  He added that its an agonizing decision to raise employees health insurance costs.  MSU does not take this task lightly.  But, he added, it is a matter of economics.  If we could find a way to have health care at a cheaper cost we would certainly do so.

Rep. Jessie asked how many individuals are taking MSU plans?  VP Waters replied 951.  Mrs. Hogge added that where both husband and wife work here their contract is considered as one.  Rep. Jessie then asked how many employees are eligible for health insurance?  Mrs. Hogge replied 1200.  Rep. Jessie replied that 249 employees are not taking MSU's health insurance.  VP Walters stated that from 2006 plans, 103 employees waived insurance.  Of that number 28 were retirees who were going into the state plan.  The other 75 were covered by spouses insurance plan.  He added that he did not have the total number of employees not covered by anyone.  He stated there may be 75 people, number is probably small.  He also added that if we knew of anyone opting out of insurance due to cost to please direct them to Human Resources so they can make sure they understand the cost of the plans especially the CDHP plan and HRA coverage.  He reminded everyone that HRA contributions are carried over from year to year.

Rep. Colvin asked that in the future they consider up fronting information before open enrollment begins so we can do comparisons on our own.  She added that Staff Congress need to be able to have a voice in this.  Rep. A. Moore added that in past years Staff Congress has been able to voice their concerns about plans and premiums being offered to employees.  Mrs. Hogge replied that Staff Congress should start now for next year.  VP Walters added that Staff Congress should not wait for this time of year to come around before they start working on insurance.  He stated that changes or concerns about plans can be voiced throughout the year.  He stated that we have the best health insurance at the cheapest cost for our employees.  He also stated that we have been fortunate to of went three years without raising premiums and that this year MSU is able to delay in increase for seven months so employees will have two pay raises before the increase takes effect.

Rep. Colvin stated that Staff Congress has to answer to their constituents and we do not feel we have any answers for them.  Mrs. Hogge stated to send anyone with questions that we are unable to answer to Human Resources to speak with her.  VP Walters added that they want Human Resources to give employees an informed decision about coverage and if they have no insurance what the cost would be.

Rep. Morris asked what time of year does Human Resources start working on insurance plans?  Mrs. Hogge replied they start in July with changes being made up to August.  VP Walters added that they are happy to take suggestions regarding health insurance throughout the year not just when they are negotiating plans.  He also stated that premiums are set in July.  At this time of year they feel they have received enough information to project cost for the next year. 

Rep. Morris asked if open enrollment will remain at the same time of year as this year?  Mrs. Hogge stated that usually open enrollment is in November.  However it depends on when they obtain the information needed to set premiums.  Once MSU receives this data then they meet with all University groups to discuss plans.

Rep. Allen asked if we are able to cross reference with state insurance plans if we have a spouse who works for the state?  Mrs. Hogge replied no they are on a separate plan from MSU but we do cross reference internally.

Rep. Crisp asked if HRA money can be used to pay COBRA premiums when leaving the University and can HRA be used to pay premiums for current employees?  Mrs. Hogge stated that HRA can be used to pay COBRA premiums but current employees of MSU can not use HRA money to pay their monthly premiums.

Rep. Hopper asked what happen to HRA money if you go from CDHP to POS?  Mrs. Hogge stated that the money is still there for the employee to use until it is exhausted.

Rep. A. Moore stated that maybe the University should consider offering a free plan with a higher deductible or something.  Mrs. Hogge replied that MSU had a similar play years ago but only 18 employees participated in it so it was decided it was best to drop this plan.  VP Walters added that as of January 1 $870 is available for qualifying expenses under HRA.  Rep. A. Moore added that at least the employee had a choice not the employer.

Rep. Jessie asked if there was not some type of savings to the University for those employees to opt out of taking insurance and for positions that are vacant?  If there is can this not be used to help cover the cost of the plans?  VP Walters stated that the budget is based upon the number who are in the plan.  Presently the budget is based on 951 plans not 1200.  He added that if there is a vacancy in a department that it is usually only vacant for a couple of months.

Rep. Colvin asked when does MSU get the number of those who do or do not use one of the plans?  Mrs. Hogge replied that the number changes as we hire new people.  However, they usually have a solid number for open enrollment.  VP Walters added that the number MSU pays for is based up on projections.  Expense side is generated in February or March based on projections and the information we have at that time.

VP Walters stated that he appreciated everyone coming out and taking time to listen to what they had to say.  He asked that if any one had questions to please feel free to contact Human Resources.  He also stated that if there are any groups of employees that he and Human Resources need to speak with to let him know and he would be happy to schedule a meeting with them.  Mrs. Hogge added that Human Resources would be meeting with Physical Plant employees this Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Riggle Room.  She also added that a mass e-mail will be sent out tomorrow informing all employees about Open Enrollment.  Mrs. Hogge also stated that CHA will be here next week to meet with any employee who may have questions regarding MSU's plans.

Minutes submitted by:  Lisa Caskey, Secretary