Dear Campus Community,
I am writing to provide you with an update on the College's health insurance options for 2010 and to let you know how you can learn more about the changes that are taking place.
As previously communicated, the College's FY 2009-2010 operating budget does not allow for an increase in the College's share of health insurance premiums for the 2010 calendar year. This means that the cost of any increase in health insurance premiums for calendar year 2010 will be borne entirely by participating faculty and staff members.
This budgetary reality, coupled with expected increases in premiums from HealthNet due in part to higher-than-average utilization of services, led the College to explore the possibility of other insurance carriers and alternative forms of health insurance. With guidance and assistance from the College's Health Insurance Review Committee (HIRC), a thorough review of the insurance marketplace was conducted that included many hours of analysis. This process has resulted in modifications for 2010 that will adjust some of the plan designs and change one insurance carrier.
Kaiser will continue as a medical insurance provider option for the College, however, after many years, the relationship with HealthNet will be ending. HealthNet will be replaced by Anthem Blue Cross. The HIRC has reviewed both the access to providers and their service capabilities and is comfortable that this will be an upgrade from the HealthNet policy. The rates Anthem Blue Cross is offering are better than the HealthNet renewal rates and it provides a wider network of providers. Kaiser will continue as a medical provider option for the College.
The second change is in the plan designs offered. Effective January 1, 2010, the HMO 20 plans for both Kaiser and Anthem Blue Cross will cease and be replaced by a health savings account (HSA) plan. An HSA is a high-deductible preferred provider organization (PPO) plan with an employee-owned tax-deferred fund that replaces, in most cases, the flexible spending account (FSA). Unlike an FSA, balances in an HSA roll forward from year to year. The following website can provide insight into how HSA's work. Look for additional materials coming in the next few weeks to further help you understand this new option.
These two changes should help lessen the impact of premium increases on participating faculty and staff members during 2010. Actual premium and employee costs for 2010 are provided in the 2010 contribution sheet which is available at the Human Resources Office and on the Human Resources website.
Please watch for additional information and don't forget that there will be a Benefits Festival on December 2, 2009, to help all members of the community with their benefit plan selection and enrollment. There will also be other opportunities for information and assistance following the Benefits Fair. Ann Kelly and Natalie McCosker in the Human Resources Office are ready to answer any questions you may have about these changes. They can be reached at extension 4055.
Peter A. Michell
Vice President for Finance