ISU increases health benefit contribution

Laura Kennedy

As health insurance costs continue to rise, Iowa State has decided to increase the university contribution for employee health benefits by 14 percent.

“I am delighted about this increase to help employees,” Faculty Senate President David Hopper said. He said the proposed increase gradually rose as the Planning and Budget committee looked for a level that would keep any employee at the university.

Health insurance premiums are expected to rise 13 to 18 percent next year for ISU employees, depending on their plan. This means an extra $4 to $40 per month, which the university’s contribution will help subsidize.

Hopper said a significant amount of the money to help in this increase will come from the budgets of certain departments at the university. “It is a budgetary decision the university has to make,” he said. “This is an issue that gets discussed every year. The benefits committee has done all they can do to obviate the effect of the cost increase.”

Mark Power, associate professor of finance and chairman of the University Benefits Committee, said Iowa State is facing a financially tight budget increase.

“Iowa State felt the 14 percent increase in the contribution rate is necessary,” Power said. “The reason this is happening is because health-care costs have increased on a nationwide basis. It is affecting Iowa State and it is at a point where we have to make all design changes.”

Power said Iowa State offers four health insurance plans to its employees as part the plan developed by the University Benefits Committee. These include the indemnity plan, the preferred provider option, HMO and the catastrophic coverage plan. Power said there will be key changes to all of medical expense options except the catastrophic coverage plan.

Hopper said the university budget committee proposal will be discussed by the Faculty Senate during its next meeting on Oct. 10. He said the proposal will then be decided on by the Iowa Board of Regents during their meeting on Oct. 18 and 19.

“This is a very important issue to any ISU employee that participates in a health insurance plan,” Power said.