UR employees who are about to enter the open enrollment period for health insurance will see increase of costs due to the combination of the federal Health Care Reform legislation that passed last March and UR’s efforts to manage costs in an unstable financial environment.
“The overall costs of health care continue to rise and, like most institutions, we work hard to find the balance between keeping health care costs affordable for our employees and their families and balancing the University’s needs to control its costs and grow as an organization,” UR President Joel Seligman said.
Seligman also commented that while costs for employees have increased, the University has tried to keep these increases reasonable, especially compared to other universities.
UR health insurance has increased from $17 million in 1998 to $84.3 million in 2010. During this time the University has increased their number of employees by 45 percent. Yet even if the increase of employees is taken into account, health insurance has still increased from $17 million to $58 million. Thus, the cost of health insurance is currently the fastest growing cost in the UR budget.
Despite these increases, the UR has been working to decrease the rate of health care costs. From 1998 to 2007, the health insurance costs, not including the influence of population growth, has grown almost 13 percent. The annual cost increase has slowed down to around 5 percent since 2007 with the inclusion of the new health care plans and wellness initiatives.
Aside from these changes, employee contributions, which now account for 18.8 percent of the overall health care costs, will increase to 20 percent.
“This cost-sharing percentage is consistent with other major employers in the community,” Seligman said.
The UR decision to move to self-insurance has shielded the University from larger increases seen in community-rated plans, despite the fact that costs have increased.