Division of Human Resources Hosts Annual Benefits Fair
According to a national study of employee benefits trends by MetLife, a leading provider of insurance and other financial services, employee benefits remain important in supporting an organization’s goals of strong employee attraction and retention.
This year, more than 900 Rensselaer faculty and staff attended the annual Benefits Fair and Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day event in the Alumni Sports and Recreation Center on Nov. 5.
“At Rensselaer, we have known for years that a comprehensive benefits package that protects employees and their families is essential to forging a bond between an employer and its employees,” said Curtis Powell, vice president for human resources. “Today, the Division of Human Resources knows that employees who are satisfied with their benefits are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and loyal to the organization for which they work.”
For many who attended the fair, the top two questions on people’s minds were: what is the increase in my premiums, and how will health-care reform (the Affordable Care Act) affect my medical benefits?
According to the Division of Human Resources, the 2013 benefits changes will include a 5 percent increase in medical premiums per pay period, which will range from two to nine dollars, based on the coverage level, significantly below the national average of 9 percent that recently appeared in the AON Hewitt National Health Care Survey.
Powell also noted that Rensselaer continues to provide a 77 percent subsidy for the cost of an employee’s medical and prescription coverage, which is significantly above the national average of 65 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a leader in health policy analysis, health journalism, and communication.
“There will be no increase in premiums for the dental, vision, and life insurance coverage,” Powell added. “Rensselaer also will continue to provide comprehensive medical and prescription drug coverage to our retirees, and their monthly premiums for both plans were reduced by an average of 15 percent.”
Looking ahead, how will health-care reform impact Rensselaer’s medical and prescription plan? Powell noted that he and other members of the human resources staff have already implemented medical coverage for eligible dependent children up to age 26 regardless of student status, and they have also removed the lifetime maximum benefit for medical costs. In 2013, plans are under way to implement more than 50 preventative care services at no cost to Rensselaer employees. In addition, the increase in the Medicare subsidy was a key factor in reducing the annual cost of the medical and prescription program for retirees.
National studies report that many large U.S. employers will require their employees to pay a larger share of the costs of benefits in 2013 than they have in the past, by requiring higher premiums, greater in- and out-of-network deductibles, and increased out-of-pocket maximums. At Rensselaer, as a result of negotiations with vendors, attention to industry trends, and sound management of costs, the Institute will continue to offer employees a comprehensive and cost-effective benefits program.
“We will also continue our Healthy Campus Initiative, which includes wellness programs and participant incentives,” Powell said. “Our goal is that Rensselaer will continue to be recognized locally and nationally for the depth and breadth of its comprehensive and affordable benefits programs for its regular employees and retirees.”