GCCC looks to revise health insurance options

by Lesley Politi on November 12, 2008



GCCC looks to revise health insurance options 

Published 11/10/2008 






In an effort to save money after a 44-percent increase over the last two years in health insurance premiums, a Garden City Community College committee is recommending that GCCC revise its Blue Cross and Blue Shield plan to include high- and low-level usage options.

The GCCC Board of Trustees will receive an update on the college’s health insurance plan at its regular meeting Wednesday night.

According to GCCC President Carol Ballantyne, the college’s premiums went up 28 percent, effective Oct. 1, taking the cost of a policy to $546.42 a month for a single employee or $1,679.69 a month for a family. That came after another substantial increase the year before.

With the goal of exploring other options, GCCC hired Alan Schumacher of Maverick Consulting, Wichita, to review GCCC’s usage and to look at possibly re-bidding the college’s insurance. GCCC is paying the consultant at an hourly rate, with total payment to be capped at $7,200, according to Dean of Administrative Services Dee Wigner.

Ballantyne said Schumacher’s findings showed that eight people made up half the total claims paid for 2007-08, while 61 percent of those enrolled in the college’s plan had less than $1,000 in claims.

After Preferred Health Systems declined to offer a quote to GCCC, the insurance committee recommended offering two levels of coverage, with one having a $1,000 deductible for an individual and the other having a $2,500 deductible. Ballantyne said she expects the change will cut GCCC’s premium rates.

Information on the two plans will be distributed to college employees this month, and the new plans will go into effect Jan. 1.

Now that a decision has been made on health insurance, Ballantyne said the college trustees have re-opened negotiations with faculty, with a meeting set for Tuesday.

Faculty had requested re-opening talks on its three-year contract, which is intended to last through the end of the current academic year, following a Board of Trustees decision in the summer to provide full, single health insurance policies to each of about 125 staff members. Staff are college employees who don’t teach, while the 70 or so who do are considered faculty.

Under the current faculty contract, the college pays $301 per month toward each faculty member’s insurance policy. Ballantyne said during the summer’s budgeting process that she had anticipated faculty would request in a new round of negotiations health insurance benefits comparable to staff, starting in the 2009-2010 academic year.

Also on Wednesday, the board will receive an update on its goal that GCCC provide students with opportunities for academic advancement by helping them prepare for transfer to other colleges and universities. Trustees will receive data that shows that at each Kansas university except Pittsburg State, students who transferred from GCCC had better grade-point averages in spring 2008 than students who started at the universities. However, at all the universities except Fort Hays State University, GCCC students’ grade-point averages were slightly lower than the average GPA for all community college transfers. Data wasn’t available from Wichita State University.

Another update on the agenda relates to GCCC’s goal of turning more to data to measure and improve performance.

According to a plan outlining the project, the college has collected a lot of data but has not necessarily analyzed and applied it consistently and effectively.

Source: www.gctelegram.com

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