Northeastern changes health insurance plan

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Northeastern changes health insurance plan

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By Alexandra Malloy, news editor

Human Resources Management (HRM) of Northeastern announced to members of the faculty senate on Oct. 15 that there would be changes to the current healthcare and benefits available to Northeastern faculty and staff.

The announcement came during a period of open enrollment for benefits of faculty and staff. During this period, every participant in the current healthcare program is being asked to re-enroll.

Katherine Pendergast, vice president of HRM, addressed the senate on the upcoming changes, which were previewed on Oct. 1 by the Senate Agenda Committee.

“We will be making major investments in wellness programs to improve the health of faculty and staff, to support the collective good and to moderate the rate of rise of health insurance,” Pendergast said in a written statement on Oct.15.

Pendergast and HRM detailed the changes to the existing plan in an email to faculty and staff members on Oct. 22. The benefits include life, dental and health insurance as well as tuition benefits.

The current life insurance program will not change, and HRM will offer a plan similar to employees’ current existing dental plans, including a lower-cost option. There have also been no proposed or planned changes to the tuition benefits program.

The largest amount of change arises from the health insurance offered by the university with the new plan announced in September.

As stated by Pendergast, the Affordable Care Act is the driving force behind these changes. The act calls upon Northeastern and other universities to modify faculty and staff health plans or else be penalized for high cost plans.

“The Affordable Care Act has changed the landscape for health care and the plans that all universities can offer,” she said.

The university will maintain a 70 percent contribution to the core health plan and contribute the same fixed premium on other plans. Without the changes, the cost of university offered coverage would increase regardless by five to six percent.

The period for open enrollment ends Nov. 14 with changes to plans and benefits expected to go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Photo by Solarapex/Creative Commons.