Dear Ohio University Faculty and Staff,
In an effort to keep you informed of fast-changing budget developments, we would like to share some important recommendations issued Friday by the Budget Planning Council (BPC).
As you know, Ohio University is facing multi-million dollar deficits in fiscal 2010 because of the nation's economic troubles and overall cost increases.
Proposals issued Friday by the council include:
- Freezing salaries in fiscal 2010, with the exception of employees who are contractually obligated to receive raises. The council also recommended postponing a $1.2 million investment in raising faculty salaries as called for in the Vision OHIO plan. If these two actions are implemented, this recommendation would save an estimated $5.1 million.
- Adopting measures to reduce health care costs by $3 million annually. This proposal would increase employee premiums, co-pays and co-insurance levels and add a deductible. However, the university will explore ways to exempt benefits-eligible employees who make less than $30,000 from any premium increases. At the same time, the university would add additional premium brackets to ensure higher-paid employees pick up a greater percentage of overall plan costs.
- Implementing enhancements to the health care plan recommended by the Benefits Advisory Committee, including improvements to vision, dental and mental health coverage. The enhancements include expanding coverage for dependents who are full-time students from age 23 to age 25, paid for through a $50 monthly surcharge. The additional items would cost the university about $550,000 but are expected to decrease health care costs in the long-term.
For more information on the $3 million reduction scenario and the suggested enhancements, click here.
In addition, Holzer Clinic will no longer be considered an in-network provider beginning July 1 because it is significantly more expensive than other in-network providers. Employees who choose to remain with a Holzer specialist or physician will pay more for their care, either through higher deductibles, larger co-pays or higher co-insurance limits -- or a combination of all three. Savings would total a minimum of $400,000.
Following BPC's final recommendations, any changes in employee premiums must be presented to the Faculty Senate for approval, according to the Ohio University Faculty Handbook. Faculty Senate is expected to take the matter up at its March 9 meeting. President Roderick J. McDavis will then consider all recommendations prior to rendering benefits decisions, which must be made by March 15 to give the university's health care administrator, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, time to put them in place by July, the beginning of our fiscal year.
Please submit any questions or suggestions that you might have to your supervisor, chair or dean or to your representative on BPC. The names and contact information of those representatives also can be found on the university's budget site.
Executive Vice President and Provost
Senior Vice President Finance and Administration