Changes in Health Care and Medical Leave Benefits Announced
submitted by the Benefits Office
Due to a significant increase in projected health care costs, an increase in the tuition across campus and the recent reduction in Michigan Tech's funding from the State of Michigan, a revised program will be implemented on Jan. 1. Health-care costs are expected to rise by an estimated $833,000 in 2012, necessitating the changes outlined below. Benefits Office staff will explain the changes at nine campus forums scheduled through the end of November.
Here is a summary of the changes:
In the PPO plan, the employee's share of the premium cost will remain at 20 percent, while the deductible for individuals will increase from $500 to $1,000; and the deductible for families will increase from $1,000 to $2,000. As well, the out-of-pocket maximum for individuals will increase from $1,500 to $2,200, while the out-of-pocket maximum for families will increase from $3,000 to $4,400.
Changes to the HSA plan include a reduction to Michigan Tech's HSA contribution for individuals from $750 to $400; and a reduction for families from $1,500 to $800. The contribution will be deposited into the employee's account in January.
There will be no changes to the dental and vision plans; the employee premiums will remain the same.
All benefit-eligible employees must complete the enrollment process for 2012. If this is not completed, employees will be enrolled in the default plans (HSA, continue current dental/vision plan option, and no Flexible Spending Accounts).
Tech Select will start Monday, Nov. 14, and run through Dec. 6. For questions, a schedule of forums and more information, visit the Benefits website.
New Medical Leave Policies
New policies for medical-related absences will also be implemented on Jan. 1.
A Medical Leave Group comprised of 12 faculty and staff developed a proposal after extensive research and discussion that has been approved by President Glen Mroz.
The Medical Leave Group was asked to review and recommend a comprehensive and consistent medical leave policy to help provide seamless coverage to new and long-term employees and to protect University departments from the financial liability of extended time off.
Three guiding principles framed the medical leave review:
* Protect faculty and staff
* Protect the University by limiting liability
* Minimize the difficulty in managing medical-related leaves
The group wanted to ensure these changes were "simple, fair, and efficient," according to Renee Hiller, director of benefits services.
The group addressed
* Sick-leave insurance
* Short-term disability (replaces current Voluntary Sick Leave Pool)
* Long-term disability (unchanged)
* Maternity leave
Current policy: Employees accrue four hours per pay period; that is, 13 days after a year up to a maximum of 132 days or 1,056 hours.
New policy: Employees will get 13 days or 104 hours on Jan. 1 (pro-rated for part-time employees). Employees can carry over up to 60 days or 480 hours of sick leave. Current employees will be able to carry over up to the maximum of 60 days or 480 hours once the policy is effective Jan. 1.
Reason for the change: introduction of a short-term disability policy will cover employee illness/injury for an extended time off.
Current policy: Voluntary Sick Leave Pool (VSLP) covers only catastrophic illness or injury and is accessible after a six-week waiting period.
New policy: Short-term Disability insurance through MetLife that will be paid by Michigan Tech for all benefits-eligible employees. The benefit will have a 14-calendar day (two week) waiting period and a 70 percent salary benefit. Employees will be provided the choice if the benefit will be taxable.
Reason for the change: Increasing number of employees are left unprotected when faced with an extended medical leave due to the increase of new hires over the past several years. Departments were continuing to pay for the extended time off, leaving little budget to help hire a temporary replacement. This policy will provide
* broader coverage that will not be limited to catastrophic
* a shorter waiting period (14 calendar days)
* an immediate and automatic enrollment
and will be paid centrally by Michigan Tech, relieving departments of that cost.
Short-term disability can last up to six months; then long-term disability is available. There will be no changes in the long-term disability policy.
Maternity leave, funded centrally, provides the following paid leave for birth mothers:
* Six weeks paid; full-semester pay for faculty, who are relieved of teaching duties.
* Staff may work out a part-time return to work to equate to six weeks.
* Includes adoption by the primary caregiver for children under age seven not attending school full time.
These changes will be explained in detail during the open enrollment forums starting Nov. 14. For more information, please see the presentation here.