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July 15, 2013

Trustees committee reviews 2014 medical plans, premiums

The Purdue University Board of Trustees' Audit and Insurance Committee on Monday (July 15) reviewed the University's 2014 medical plan options and premiums, which are now slated to go before the full board for approval at its July 19 meeting.

Recommendations brought to the committee by Purdue Human Resources call for replacing the University's current plans with three new options -- two high-deductible plans that qualify for a tax-free health savings account (HSA) and one lower-deductible plan that does not include an HSA. Details about the plans and premiums are available at www.purdue.edu/hr/Benefits/Medical/2014proposedMedicalPlans.html.

Human Resources developed the medical plan recommendations in consultation with Purdue's Health Care Strategy Committee, a group of faculty and staff charged with bringing forward short-term and long-term solutions for rising health care costs.

"The plans for next year have been designed to provide high-quality, affordable medical insurance, while encouraging employees to be better health care consumers, " says Luis E. Lewin, vice president for human resources. "Being better consumers will help reduce or curb expenses to the medical plans, which is important to all of us. Purdue is self-insured, so we foot the bill for all of our own medical claims."

Human Resources worked with Mercer, a human resource consulting firm, to develop its premium recommendations. The proposed premiums are based on projected 2014 claims and the need to meet the Board of Trustees' prescribed 80/20 premium split between the University and its faculty and staff.

Under the proposed premiums, many employees who enroll in one of the high-deductible plans will see a decrease in premiums in 2014. All employees enrolling in the highest-deductible plan will have lower premiums next year.

Individuals covering just themselves, regardless of earnings, will not pay a premium under the new Purdue Health Plan Plus HSA 2.

Employees who cover a spouse/same-sex domestic partner or family and enroll in the lower-deductible choice without an HSA will see an increase in their premiums.

Purdue will continue its two-tier medical premium arrangement, which offers lower premiums for employees earning under $44,000 a year.

This fall, a user-friendly medical plan comparison tool will be available to help faculty and staff choose a 2014 medical plan. The tool will pre-populate with the individual's previous claims to show the individual's estimated financial outcome under each of the 2014 plans.

 "Purdue will continue to work with our faculty and staff to find ways to keep medical plan costs affordable," says Lewin. "We're having discussions with employee groups, providing tools to help us be better consumers, such as the Castlight health shopping service, and working to get the best pricing and best discounts for our plans."