Board of Curators discusses employee benefits, retirement plan

The reform to health care law resulted in expansion of the UM system’s coverage.

The UM system Board of Curators met Thursday in Springfield to continue discussion of the employee benefits and retirement plan and other subjects.

An employee retirement plan project update was presented by Betsy Rodriguez, UM system vice president for Human Relations.

During the presentation, Rodriguez said the UM system medical plan doesn't look too different from plans at most universities across the country in the sense that employees and the UM system will see an additional 13 percent increase in expenses. The UM system will maintain its current 73-27 split between the system and faculty in paying for medical expenses and will also share in the additional cost from the increase.

There are many reasons for the increase to the medical plan, Rodriguez said. The first reason is simply an increase in medical costs occurring across the country. The second reason is there is more utilization on the plan than was available in previous years.

"I'm particularly concerned about it in some areas we think are preventable," Rodriguez said. "We would like to start taking a really deep dive into some wellness issues and trying to do some wellness incentives with our campuses."

Rodriguez said there is already a pilot program at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

State mandates also increased costs, and health care reform required the UM system to expand its definition of dependent children.

But there will be no increases in costs of other health care plans, including dental, Rodriguez said. The UM system has a new provider network that Rodriguez said she believes will reduce costs to employees who use the new provider.

UM system President Gary Forsee introduced the presentation of the retirement plan project to the Board of Curators.

The UM system conducted a review of employee preferences about their benefits last year across the university system, Forsee said.

"Betsy and her staff and I have worked tirelessly to communicate and listen to employee concerns about benefits," Forsee said. "The presentation this afternoon is with the Board of Curators as the principal and primary audience, but we have invited employees across the system to listen in, in order that they can stay abreast of the discussions we are having with the Board of Curators."

Forsee said discussion of employee benefits will continue throughout the next several months as data is presented.

"Two years ago we took a very decisive action, having employees contribute to the pitch and plan," Forsee said. "We did that as a further mitigation action, attempting to ensure our plan, as it has historically, remain fully funded."

The primary objective for presenting the retirement plan project was to give updates made to the project and to take an inventory of questions to research and report back to the Board of Curators committee during the November meeting.

The Finance Committee met after the Compensation and Human Resources Committee, according to the Board of Curators agenda. A Financial Aid Report was presented in addition to the Endowment and Retirement Fund Performance Annual Report and other business.

The Academic, Student and External Affairs committee was the last committee to meet. An update on the rank of MU's law school was discussed before the committee adjourned.

The Board of Curators will be called to order again at 8 a.m. Friday. Several reports will be heard, including addresses from chancellors of the four system universities.

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