Staff Advisory Council Report

November 1, 1998

Judith Zwolak

Following is a report on some of the issues discussed at the Staff Advisory Council meeting in October. Strategic planning--Yvette Jones, senior vice president of administration and planning, spoke to council members about the strategic planning initiative.

She explained that "there needs to be a voice from staff" in the process and said the planning committee will ask for the council's input throughout the process. Compensation and benefits--Jones also said the human resources department is restructuring the university's staff compensation plan to bring salary grades in line with the market.

The human resources department hopes to have the plan in place by December, she says. The department is also working with a consultant to develop a "cafeteria plan" of benefits, in which employees can choose from a variety of options to fashion a personalized benefits package. Next July is the deadline for the consultants to deliver their proposal.

Human resources will provide information about the plan throughout the following fall. As part of the discussion, Jones said that all green-circled employees (those earning below their salary grades) have been brought up to their grades' minimum salaries.

United Healthcare prescription change--Evola Bates, vice president of administration and human resources, attended the meeting to address changes to the United Healthcare health insurance plan's prescription drug copayment benefit. On July 1, the copayment for prescription drugs increased from $5 to $10 for prescriptions on a "preferred drug list" compiled by United Healthcare and $25 for drugs not on the list.

The copayment for generic drug prescriptions remains $5. (United Healthcare sent a memo dated Oct. 9 to all members describing the plan and providing the list of preferred drugs). Although human resources had included information about the copayment in the memo accompanying the open enrollment package last spring as well as at the open enrollment meetings, some staff members were unaware of the change.

Bates said that United Healthcare informed human resources in late spring of an increase in premiums. After looking at how employees use the plan, said Bates, human resources opted to change the prescription copayment plan rather than raise the employees' portion of the premiums.

Since the changes would go into effect in the 199899 fiscal year and United Healthcare proposed the increase in April, it was too late in the school year to bring the matter before the University Senate's benefits committee, Bates said. The council and Bates agreed that human resources needs to communicate changes in health insurance benefits more clearly in the future.

The next meeting is on Thursday, Nov. 12, Room D-264, medical center conference center. All staff members are welcome. To speak at the meeting, contact Lisa Leblanc, corresponding secretary, at least 48 hours in advance. 865-5346.

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