Both Kaiser and Regence (PEHT) provide the option of adding alternative care. Unfortunately, in both cases the alternative care benefit would be part of the medical plan for all enrolled employees, and the cost of adding alternative care would be borne by all participants, not just the employees who planned to use alternative care.
The Fringe Benefits Committee recently reviewed the option of adding alternative care to the medical plans as of April 1, 2009, but felt that benefit eligible employees should be aware of the impact this will have on premiums. Because 2009-2010 is a lean year for the College where every dollar counts, the Executive Council believes that if employees wish to add alternative care coverage, any rate increases related to the additional benefit would need to be absorbed by the employee.
Last week the Fringe Benefits Committee conducted a survey of benefit eligible employees asking for feedback on whether or not to add alternative care at this time. Due to the potential financial impact on all covered employees, they agreed that they would not proceed with discussions about adding alternative care in 2009 if they did not receive a response from two-thirds of eligible employees, or 487 responses.
Unfortunately, only 270 employees responded to the survey. Although 21% of eligible employees were in favor of adding alternative care this year, 14% of eligible employees were not, and ultimately we did not receive a large enough response to proceed at this time. However, 84% of respondents were in favor of adding alternative care at a future date, so the Fringe Benefits Committee will explore this option again next year.
In the meantime, HR is hosting the annual Benefits & Wellness Fair on Tuesday, February 24 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in Stamm. Several alternative care providers are scheduled to attend, and HR is exploring the possibility of obtaining employee discounts for services.
On a positive note, Effective April 1, 2009, there will only be a 3% rate increase to both the College and Employee portions of the Pioneer Educators Health Trust medical plan (PPO Regence BlueCross/BlueShield), and a 6.5% rate increase to both the College and Employee portions of the Fee-For-Service dental plan. There will be no rate increase to either Kaiser Medical or the Willamette Dental plans. New this year will be another dental insurance option, Kaiser Dental, with rates and benefits comparable to Willamette Dental.
If you are interested in reviewing the survey results, please contact Katie Lahey in Human Resources.