A Word From Human Resources
Health Care Coverage and Winter Break Closing
As the year comes to a close, Rensselaer employees and retirees have received a significant amount of information about choosing a health plan, which may at times make the final selection process difficult. So, what’s the best approach?
In the future, when selecting a health plan, individuals might consider the “CBS” approach. The “C” stands for the total out-of-pocket cost paid by an employee. The “B” stands for benefits that are being offered by the plan. For example, does the plan include dental, vision care, etc.? The “S” stands for the services that are being provided by the plan. In this case, individuals may wonder if they have the option to stay in the network or go outside of the network for medical services.
According to the 2011 Mercer Workplace Survey, benefits often play an increasingly pivotal role in the employer-employee relationship. Today, as many private employers across the nation struggle with double-digit increases in premiums, Rensselaer has been able to keep premium increases in the single digits, while continuing to offer a comprehensive health care package with premium increases of only 5 percent this year. A report by the Commonwealth Fund, an independent research organization, shows that, nationally, premiums for private employers are increasing at a much higher rate, up to nearly 50 percent in the last seven years.
At Rensselaer, we are committed to maintaining a comprehensive benefits plan for our employees and retirees that is straightforward and affordable. Negotiations with our vendors began in early March, and we were able to conclude on favorable packages with insurance carriers for the coming year. There will be no changes in co-payments or deductibles, and only minimal premium increases for medical and dental coverage, which is something that many organizations are not able to achieve for their employees.
However, one significant change for employees is the elimination of MVP Health Care. The reason for the change is due to higher plan renewal cost, low employee participation, and, available plan benefits. Former MVP participants will see premium cost savings of $600 to $1,400 annually based on level of coverage, and will now have dental and vision care benefits as well.
Of course, we all need some time to rest and refocus, in order to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Rensselaer will be closed for the Holiday and Winter Break beginning Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. The Institute will re-open on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012. The closing allows those who would normally be present for limited office coverage to enjoy uninterrupted time off to spend with their family and friends during the holiday season.
Last year, the Institute was able to conserve energy and reduce energy-related costs for a total savings of approximately $25,000. The closing also provided Rensselaer with an opportunity to complete important building and infrastructure maintenance and repairs to campus facilities.
On behalf of our Board of Trustees, President Jackson, and the Division of Human Resources, we extend to you and your family best wishes and a joyous
and happy holiday season.
Curtis Powell, SPHR,
Vice President for Human Resources