Changes in employee health benefits plan announced

It’s nearly time again for open enrollment in UST’s employee medical benefits programs. Here’s a preview to help you begin thinking about health and dental insurance for 2005. This year’s program includes modest changes in medical premiums and the cost-sharing design of the two medical plans. All changes become effective Jan. 1, 2005. An overview of the changes follows.

Blue Cross Blue Shield medical plans
In its attempt to provide an attractive benefits program, the university offers employees a choice of two medical plans. Employees’ medical premiums for the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) Base Plan will increase $7.99 per month for single coverage and $47.21 per month for family coverage. Medical premiums for the BCBS Alternate Plan will increase $1.24 per month for single coverage and $31.29 per month for family coverage.

With the cost of medical coverage rising at a steady rate from year to year, the university continues to seek ways to keep both the university’s and employees’ costs affordable. This year’s efforts include implementing a cost-sharing design feature to both the Base and Alternate plans.

  • Base Plan: The inpatient $250 hospital copayment has been removed, and the plan now will cover inpatient hospital services at 90 percent. The remaining 10 percent will be the responsibility of the plan member. As was the case last year, the out-of-pocket maximum remains the same: $1,200 per calendar year per covered individual, with a maximum of $2,400 per family.
  • Alternate Plan: In-network charges that were covered at 90 percent now will be covered at the 80 percent benefit level. There were no changes made to the out-0f-network plan. The out-of-pocket maximum remains the same, as is the case with the Base Plan.

Dental plan
Costs associated with the dental plan are rising by approximately 7 percent. The university will absorb a large fraction of this increase next year to help keep the plan affordable for employees and their families. Employees’ dental premiums will increase only slightly, with single coverage increasing by $1.50 per month and family coverage increasing by $5.42 per month.

More information
Please watch Bulletin Today for more information. Employees’ annual enrollment packets should arrive by the first week of November. If you are interested in hearing more details about the UST benefits program, please plan to attend one of the following meetings:

  • Noon-1 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, in Room 350, Terrence Murphy Hall, Minneapolis campus
  • 7-8 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, in Room 155, Murray-Herrick Campus Center, St. Paul campus
  • 3-4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 15, in Room 155, Murray-Herrick Campus Center, St. Paul campus

Questions?
If you have any questions, please contact the Benefits Hotline, (651) 962-6496, or a Benefits Team member:

Catherine O’Neill (651) 962-6399
Jeanne Kittleson (651) 962-6497
Steph Monogue (651) 962-6519.