At the University Council on March 4, Dr. David Hackney appeared on behalf of Council's Personnel Benefits Committee (PBC). The Committee has met four times since receiving the Review and Recommendations on the Friday before publication in Almanac (February 11), he said, and has not yet prepared a formal report but has voted "yes/no" on various elements of the proposed package. Below, Dr. Hackney gives the votes in percentages prior to the question itself. A table at the end sums up these votes and indicates the number of abstentions.
B. Yes 88%--No 12% to the question:
The PBC endorses the proposal to eliminate Flexdollars and to provide current employees with a one-time increase in base salary to replace the lost Flexdollars. The PBC proposes to modify the recommendations of the Benefits Advisory Committee (BAC) as follows. Instead of receiving University-funded life insurance in the amount of 1 x salary, each employee aged 65 or younger will receive University-funded life insurance in the amount of $50,000. Employees will be permitted to purchase additional life insurance, with af ter tax dollars, as described in the BAC report. For employees over the age of 65, the University will calculate the cost of providing $50,000 of life insurance to a 65 year-old individual, and purchase for each employee the amount of insurance that can be obtained for that cost. This will have the effect of reducing the death-benefit amounts of life insurance funded by the University for older employees.
C. Yes 38%--No 63% to the question:
The issues to be considered are complex, life insurance benefits are major and critical portions of the total benefits package, and the time available to review the proposals has been quite limited. For these reasons, the PBC recommends deferral of any decision on the BAC life insurance recommendations for the upcoming plan year, in order permit an in-depth review of the proposals and alternatives.
E. Yes 33%--No 67% to the question:
The PBC endorses the concept of employee cost sharing for health insurance premiums and recognizes that the proposed prices of coverage compare favorably to competitive norms. However, the price increases are too large for employees to absorb in a single year. Further, the proposed pricing structure will place indemnity insurance out of reach for many lower-income employees. For these reasons, the PBC recommends creating a pricing structure which will continue the availability of the PENNCare PPO to lower-income employees at a very low cost. If necessary, this should be achieved by providing a greater cost subsidy to such employees, with progressively smaller subsidies to those at higher salaries. All employees would receive some substantial level of University contribution to health insurance costs, but higher-income employees would find their subsidies reduced well below those proposed by the BAC.
F. Yes 38%--No 63% to the question:
The current design of the health insurance program enjoys a high level of employee support and satisfaction. Although the level of University contributions are also relatively high, the need to provide comprehensive insurance to all employees at prices they can afford must be considered the most important goal of the health insurance program. For these reasons, the PBC recommends that the current pricing and provisions of the PENNCare PPO be retained in their current form.
H. Yes 75%--No 25% to the question:
Given that the PBC was denied its traditional role as the designated body for recommending changes in the benefits program, the PBC also was not permitted to have input into the redesign proposals while the discussions were in progress.
I. Yes 88%--No 12% to the question:
Given that the PBC was denied its traditional role as the designated body for recommending changes in the benefits program, the PBC was not afforded sufficient time to analyze the suggestions brought forward by the benefits redesign process, and to develop and present alternatives, where appropriate.
L. Yes 57%--No 43% to the question:
The proposal for adding participation in the health care pretax expense account represents an appropriate, and adequate, change with respect to those benefits considered in the report--health insurance, life insurance, tuition, and paid time off. Part time employee participation in retirement and disability programs should be considered when these components of the overall benefit program are discussed in the near future.
M. Yes 43%--No 57% to the question:
The proposal for adding participation in the health care pretax expense account is an appropriate, but not an adequate, change with respect to those benefits considered in the report- health insurance, life insurance, tuition, and paid time off. Part time employees should receive pro-rated health, life insurance, and tuition benefits, subject to service requirements. Part time employee participation in retirement and disability programs should be considered when these components of the overall benefit program are discussed in the near future.
N. Yes 56%--No 44% to the question:
Due to time constraints, the PBC was not able to conduct an adequate review and discussion of the proposals for changes in the benefits program for part time employees.
P. Yes 63%--No 38% to the question:
The proposal to eliminate summer hours represents an appropriate modification in the benefits program.
Q. Yes 38%--No 62% to the question:
The proposals for changes in the paid time off benefits are explained clearly in the benefits redesign report.
S. Yes 75%--No 25% to the question:
The PBC agrees that it is appropriate to revise portions of the benefits program now, with retirement and disability to be considered next year.
T. Yes 33%--No 67% to the question:
The PBC concludes that changes in benefits should be made only after proposals have been developed for all aspects of the program. This will permit analysis of all proposals on the basis of total compensation question.
% Yes % No Abstentions A 56% 44% 2 B 88% 13% 3 C 38% 63% 3 D 75% 25% 3 E 33% 67% 2 F 38% 63% 3 G 67% 33% 2 H 75% 25% 3 I 88% 13% 3 J 89% 11% 2 K 14% 86% 4 L 57% 43% 4 M 43% 57% 4 N 56% 44% 2 O 63% 38% 3 P 63% 38% 3 Q 38% 63% 3 R 89% 11% 2 S 75% 25% 3 T 33% 67% 2
Volume 43 Number 25
March 11, 1997
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