August 2, 2019

Trustees approve 2020 health plans; no increase to base premiums

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue trustees on Friday (Aug. 2) approved 2020 health plans, continuing the university’s work to provide high-quality benefits in a sustainable cost-effective manner. Numerous initiatives approved by the trustees will provide employees new programs to combat the rising cost of medical care. Consistent with the university’s approach last year, the changes for 2020 were approved as part of a multi-year strategy to improve population health, control overall costs and achieve the Board of Trustees’ target of a 70/30 cost share between the university and employees.

The same three medical plan options with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield will be offered in 2020, with no increase to employee base premiums over 2019. Employees also will see the return of a simplified Healthy Boiler Program with incentive options.

Changes to the 2020 plan year will include:

  • Increased current $44,000 salary tier to $45,500. This increase ensures that employees do not jump tiers due to their merit salary increase. In future years, the tier will be indexed to increase by a percentage equal to the university’s merit salary increase policy.
  • Increased from $500 to $1,000 the rates for tobacco users enrolled in the medical plans.
  • Maintained eligibility for working spouses to access the Purdue medical plans via new coverage and rate tiers for those spouses who have access to medical coverage through their employer (employer must pay at least 50% of premium) but do not enroll in their employer’s plan. Rates for this tier will be $750 higher for employees who earn less than $45,500 and elect the employee/spouse or family plan and $1,500 higher per plan for those who earn $45,500 and elect the employee/spouse or family plan.
  • Increased medical premiums for early retirees by 5%.
  • Carved-out utilization management of specialty drugs via an independent third-party administrator to provide savings to employees and the plans.
  • Established Health Sync — a narrow network with Franciscan, Lutheran Health and St. Vincent — as a tiered benefit within the existing medical plans with reduced costs to employees and the plans.
  • Creation of two concierge programs — one for prescription drugs and one for cancer treatment. Both programs provide additional resources for employees to more effectively find high-quality, cost-efficient providers and services.
  • Sunset of the PPO plan. For 2020, only those who are currently enrolled in the PPO plan have the ability to elect it; new enrollees will not be eligible. Enrollment for 2021 will replace the PPO plan with a third high-deductible health plan. Assistance will be provided in 2020 to those enrolled in the PPO plan as they migrate to one of the three other plans for 2021.

 “As we know, the costs of health care continue to rise, and our goal is to help balance those rising costs with high-quality, cost-effective services available to our Purdue population,” said Candace Shaffer, director of benefits in Human Resources. “For 2020, we have implemented several new options for employees to help with their costs. The concierge programs for prescription drugs and cancer care, along with the new Health Sync network and carve-out of specialty prescriptions, will provide savings to our employees. Additionally, the return of the Healthy Boiler Program and our efforts to continue to improve and expand services at the Center for Healthy Living on the West Lafayette campus and virtually will benefit the Purdue community.” 

In response to feedback from employees following open enrollment last year, more time to review benefit information was addressed. Employees already have received information related to open enrollment 2020 and will continue to receive information about enrollment, benefit changes and more throughout the next few months via mailings to their homes, email, virtual newsletters and Purdue Today.

Additionally, the benefits website has been redesigned to allow for a more user-friendly, easy-to-navigate benefits resource throughout the year and for open enrollment. As part of the new site design, a dedicated open enrollment webpage serves as the online resource for open enrollment 2020. Open enrollment for 2020 takes place Tuesday, Oct. 29, through 6 p.m. (EST) Tuesday, Nov. 12. Employees are encouraged to reference the dedicated web page frequently as new information continues to be added.

Additional details, including more specific premium information, will be shared with employees by Human Resources next week.


Source: Candace Shaffer, 765-496-8621,

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