SJU Faces Medical Insurance Changes as Health Care Costs Grow

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Due to escalating health care costs, Saint Joseph's will make changes in its medical insurance offerings to employees, effective November 1, 2008.

The University will make two modifications to its current options. The Personal Choice 20 plan will be discontinued, and the Personal Choice 20/30/70 plan will now require a $75 monthly contribution for employees who enroll in the "employee-only" coverage. Saint Joseph's will continue to offer four medical insurance plans; two HMO and one POS offerings with no-premium cost options for "employee-only" participation will also be available.

Personal Choice plan rates have tripled over the past decade, and can cost as much as 45 percent more than other plans. However, since Personal Choice plans are popular among employees, the University will continue to offer Personal Choice 20/30/70. In addition, Personal Choice 20 and Personal Choice 20/30/70 were the most similar of the plans previously offered.

In addition, Saint Joseph's examined contributions made by employees at other local, national, Jesuit and peer institutions. The average contribution made to a PPO plan was $84 per month at these institutions, and the University chose to make the employee contribution lower than the national average.

These changes come on the heels of major increases in medical insurance for employers. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation 2007 Employer Health Benefits Survey, health insurance premiums for employers have risen nearly four times faster than wage growth and five times faster than inflation. Reasons for these increases are numerous, and include an aging population, a rise in prescription drug costs, and expensive advances in medical technology.

"While the planned changes in medical coverage are undoubtedly difficult, SJU remains committed to offering attractive medical insurance plans for all employees while also controlling for costs," said Lou Mayer, vice president for financial affairs.

Informational meetings will take place on September 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sep. 17 from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

--Dan Wisniewski '08

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