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Friday, October 12, 2012

UA Health Care Task Force Recommendations - IMMEDIATE STAFF FEEDBACK NEEDED!

This summer a special Health Care Task Force composed of staff representatives from across the UA system met to research and propose possible solutions to offset increasing health care costs. They were charged with thinking of out-of-the-box solutions for cost containment. Their proposals were recently summarized and shared with the Joint Health Care Committee (JHCC). The JHCC will be meeting in Anchorage next week to discuss these recommendations. You may review the document here:

The current staff members on the Joint Health Care Committee are Melodee Monson from UAA ( and Gwenna Richardson from UAS ( If you want to provide them with feedback before the JHCC meeting in Anchorage next week I strongly encourage you to do so.

Please keep in mind that these are suggestions alone and do not represent any final decisions regarding our health plan or benefits. This is your opportunity to use the governance system to make your opinion heard. I strongly encourage all of you to review this document and weigh in on the discussion. 

For more information on the JHCC or SHCC there was an excellent article in the August Statewide Voice ( that I encourage you to read.

Thank you! Here's to your health!

Staff Council


Jeff from UAF said...

I'm concerned about the opt-out option not being available. If not allowed to opt-out, I would be covered under 3 different insurance programs (a UA policy, my wife's employer's insurance, and TRICARE). Taking away the opt-out option makes medical insurance a staff liability, not a staff benefit. I have an extensive history with my current doctor with current insurance policies. I'm am uncertain if I would be allowed, under the UA insurance, to see my current physician.

Ironically, if I drop from my wife's policy, I would then be in a position to opt-out of the UA policy because my sole provider would then be TRICARE!

UAF does have an extremely high opt-out rate compared to other locales. Maybe that is directly related to the fact that Fairbanks, Alaska is one of the 10 most expensive cities in the United States in which to reside.

Table 2 provides a helpful comparison of benefits among large employers, but leaves off the cost of such insurance. It may be cost effective to join with the local school district or local government's insurers.

Anonymous said...

I'm frustrated that UA is considering removing the opt-out option. It would make sense to me if they removed opt-out for employees who are still being covered as dependents on the plan, because those employees are receiving the same benefit but not paying as much to support it. However, for those who simply want to remove themselves from the plan altogether because they have coverage elsewhere I don't see the problem.

My spouse carries me on his insurance because the cost is much lower and the coverage is better. If I'm required to start paying into UA's health care system it will mean a significant pay cut for me.

If UA is concerned about employees opting out who aren't actually covered anywhere else then they should require proof of external coverage. It wouldn't be complicated; I would be happy to stop by HR with my insurance card if it means I can continue to opt out.

UAF Staff Council, please consider advocating for staff who want to maintain the option to refuse UA insurance. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the university is not listening to the employees regarding our wishes on healthcare. Many comments on a previous post stated they did NOT want the opt out option removed. Yet it seems this will happen anyway. The university, in all is horrible wisdom, has decided that we will be forced to spend a huge amount of money on something we don't want, and, in many cases, something that is MUCH worse than our other options. Further, The UAF staff council is NOT letting most employees know about this! Where are the staff listserv emails on this subject? Why do we get so much of what amounts to spam, and nothing on what is happening on our health care? I was against a union before, but its looking might good right now.

Anonymous said...

I am concerned about the PCMH. What is the difference between that and an HMO. I do not want to pay for insurance that can tell me NO with no recourse. As I remember correctly, you cannot sue or petition an HMO.

I agree that those who have more people on their plan should be paying more $$. I also like that UAF is thinking about those who make more should pay more.

Also, what about those who do not have major health problems and have gone to the doctor for annual health care should pay less premiums as well? Reward those who are healthy not penalize those that have health problems -- that is what I heard.

Anonymous said...

8I, too, am concerned about losing the opt-out option. If I have to begin paying for UA insurance, it will be a pay cut and being on the low end of the pay scale, I will have to seek additional work to be able to pay my utility bills (I barely cover them in winter now). Definitely not a good situation. Please keep the opt-out option!