Your 2019 benefits: What’s new?

Every year, University leadership reviews and analyzes employee benefits and costs to both employees and the university. As healthcare costs continue to rise at a rapid rate, we had to make some tough decisions for this plan year. The following outlines what will be “new” to employees in regards to our medical plans for 2019.

  • Medical premium increase for employees. The university will continue to cover 88 percent of total premium. See chart here under the "What's New for 2019 tab.
  • Increased deductible and out-of-pocket expenses for employees.
  • Lowered fee for employees covered on the high deductible health plans who receive care at the Center for Healthy Living on the West Lafayette campus.
  • HSA contributions from Purdue will move to an incentive-based model. Employees are encouraged to take advantage of the Healthy Boiler Wellness program incentives to increase employer contributions.
  • Continuance of the Healthy Boiler Wellness Program, first implemented in 2018, that provides monetary incentives as contributions to Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs) for employees who engage in healthy activities and educational programming.
  • New CVS value formulary for prescription drugs, which promotes the use of generic medications. This will decrease the cost for employees and the plan.  Letters will be sent in November to employees who will be affected.
  • Vision – eligibility for eye exams, lenses and contacts has changed from one every 365 days to one per calendar year, allowing more flexibility for when you can receive services.
  • Dental premiums on the two buy-up plans will be slightly higher in 2019.
  • Limited purpose FSA will no longer allow for a grace period.
  • HSA Bank is replacing Payflex as our plan administrator for health savings accounts.
  • LifeStages, identity management service introduced through Hyatt Legal Plans voluntary benefit.

“As much as we would like to avoid medical premium increases, and increases in general, we simply cannot continue to cover the staggering increase in healthcare costs,” said Candace Shaffer, director of benefits in Human Resources.

Two major contributing factors that currently are driving the increase in medical plan costs are hospital visits (Indiana hospitals charge substantially higher rates than peers in other states (hospital charges are nearly 50 percent of total plan expenditures) and chronic conditions, which account for 62 percent of claim costs. 

“We continue to share information in an effort to help educate our Purdue employees on ways to be smart healthcare consumers.  They are receptive, and it shows,” Shaffer said. “We also are working on proactive approaches in regards to chronic condition management and the resources we have available for our population. The Center for Healthy Living on the West Lafayette campus has programs available – both in-person and via telephone – as does Anthem. All benefits-eligible employees can take advantage of these services. Other administrative decisions were made to change vendors and reduce healthcare costs in that arena as well.”

Any questions can be directed to Human Resources at 765-494-2222, toll free at 877-725-0222 or via email at