A Word From Human Resources
Health Care Coverage and Open Enrollment
With the semester in full swing, Rensselaer’s fall sports seasons under way, and autumn weather and foliage making its presence known, I hope that everyone is faring well.
As vice president for human resources, I’d like to take this opportunity to provide all of you with some updates from the Division of Human Resources. First, the annual open enrollment period for Rensselaer faculty and staff to enroll or change their health care coverage will occur in November. Given the rise in health care cost of 10 percent and greater for many corporations as cited by Mercer, a international human resources consulting firm, many corporations are shifting a greater share of the cost to employees.
This will not be the case with Rensselaer.
During the past three years, Rensselaer has continued to pay 77 percent of the health care premium cost for our active employees. We want to assure Rensselaer employees that the Institute will continue to provide a comprehensive health care program that is affordable to faculty, staff, and retirees without requiring a greater share of employee or retiree cost.
Next, following the national debate about health care reform, on March 23 the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), a federal statute, was signed into law by President Obama. What does this mean for the Institute? Rensselaer’s health plans are “grandfathered plans,” which means our plans are exempt from some but not all of the new mandates.
Due to the new law, the additions to our healthcare plans will include: coverage of dependents to age 26 even if they are not in college, but only if the child is not eligible for another employer’s plan; elimination of lifetime maximum medical benefits; and over-the-counter drugs not prescribed by a doctor will no longer qualify for the tax-free reimbursements under the Flexible Spending Account program.
As one of the nation’s premiere universities, we must be able to attract and retain a talented workforce.
It is my intent to continue to work with leadership to provide Rensselaer faculty, staff, and retirees with access to a comprehensive, cost-efficient benefits program. We hope to begin our outreach to all employees in order to present all of you with the education and tools needed to help you to make educated choices in selecting the health care plan that is appropriate for you and your family.
To help in the process, we have a series of events planned. The annual Troy campus Benefits Fair for active faculty and staff will take place on Friday, Nov. 5, from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Armory. The Hartford campus Benefits Fair will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 9. Also, a retiree preview meeting will be held on Friday, Nov. 12. This event is designed to help retirees navigate through any changes to the 2011 retiree health insurance programs.
Please remember that faculty and staff of Rensselaer are our most valuable resources.
Curtis Powell, SPHR
Vice President for Human Resources