By Katie Quaranta
Members of the Budget Planning Council recommended Friday to distribute any increases to employee premiums in a way that places a greater portion on those with higher salaries.
At its meeting last week, the BPC had recommended that the university adopt measures to reduce health care costs by $3 million ? including increasing employee premiums, co-pays and co-insurance levels and adding a deductible -- in order to address multi-million dollar deficits in the next fiscal year. The group further charged the Benefits Advisory Committee to explore ways to shift more of the burden of increased premiums to employees in the top salary brackets.
Under the $3 million proposal, employee premiums would rise to 12.15 percent of total plan costs, from the current 9.85 percent.
After reviewing several scenarios, BPC members decided that adding two premium brackets at the upper end of the scale would be the most equitable way to distribute increased premiums. In this configuration, the current highest bracket, set at $86,701 and above, would be split into three brackets -- $86,701 to $99,999; $100,000 to $149,999; and $150,000 and above ? with higher- paid employees taking on a greater share of the health care costs.
Specific premium increases for individual employees have yet to be calculated.
The BPC had also considered a plan that would exempt all employees who made less than $30,000 from premium increases. Members ultimately rejected that proposal because it would have significantly increased costs for all other income brackets ? even for those individuals earning just dollars above the cut off.
The BPC additionally voted on Friday to reinforce its support for implementing enhancements to the employee health care plan, such as enhanced vision and dental benefits. For more information on the $3 million reduction scenario and the suggested enhancements, click here.
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.
Benefits decisions 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 the university?s fiscal year.