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Staff and faculty health insurance is being raised by 12% starting this December to make up for an unpredicted increase in claims and an overall increase in healthcare cost. 

Faculty Senate President Peter Adam said some of the increase was because of misprojection on how much the University budgeted for health insurance claims, and now there is a need to cover the money the University didn’t anticipate to spend. 

“Within our group, there were enough claims that there was a $400,000 shortfall in terms of what was predicted,” Adam said. “So what they've had to do is essentially look to make up for that $400,000, and so the end result is that the insurance had to go up on the faculty side of things.”

Human Resources Generalist Brooke Hull said that rather than just making up the overall loss by raising the cost of the insurance plan, they start to look at plan design changes to negate some of those increases. 

“So instead of just doing a blanket increase of 20 percent for all employees, we decided to make some changes to the plan designs,” Hull said. 

The University provides two different insurance plans through Blue Cross Blue Shield. There is a traditional Preferred Provider Organization base plan and then a Qualified High Deductible plan. 

Hull said plan prices are based on salary bands, the range of coverage that an employee takes, and a slight difference between plans.  

Director of Human Resources Krista Barcus said there will be an increase on the High Deductible plan from $3,500 to $5,000 and then an increase out-of-pocket max on the base plan from $5,000 to $6,000. 

Adam said there have been mixed feelings about the increase in insurance plan costs.  

“I know that, certainly, there are a lot of people that are displeased about it, but a lot are accepting of it,” Adam said. “A lot of people have started looking into options in terms of getting external health care, or potentially I've heard of some people thinking about changing jobs.”

Adam said this increase is going to impact University employees who insure their families, as they will see a larger increase than people who are only insuring themselves. 

“They might be paying a very significant part of their paycheck essentially towards healthcare that they didn't have to before,” Adam said. “Most of them bowed out about a while ago just because you can just insure the individual on the plan and then go to an external Blue Cross or other health insurance.” 

Adam said staff with lower salaries are going to be impacted more by this than the faculty. 

“I think it's probably a sign of the times,” he said. “COVID-19 has affected a lot of different things. The healthcare industry has been really stressed, and I don't think anyone sort of looked into this year thinking that there wouldn't be an increase. But I think it's bigger than what most people thought.”

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