Benefits Redesign: Nearing Final Recommendations

The benefits redesign recommendations now under discussion were put forward by both the Benefits Advisory Committee and the Academic Planning and Budget Committee. Since the announcement of the benefits redesign plan, a very substantial communications process has been followed to further explain the recommendations and to receive feedback from across the University. In advance of the publication of the special supplement, "Benefits Programs of the University of Pennsylvania: Review and Recommendations," which was published in Almanac on February 11 , members of the Benefits Advisory Committee met with the Ad Hoc Committee on Benefits Redesign of the Faculty Senate and the Personnel Benefits Committee of University Council.

We discussed with these groups both the eight-month process that led to the recommendations and the rationale for the recommendations. Since publication of the special supplement in Almanac , we have received and considered some 300 e-mail responses some of which contained questions that we answered, but most of which contained feedback on the recommendations.

We also have met with members of the faculty in each of the 12 schools, and we have held 23 sessions with some 3,000 members of the staff, both to explain the recommendations and to solict questions and feedback. We also have attended two sessions of University Council to listen to its concerns, and we have received and considered a report on the recommendations of its Personnel Benefits Committee. In response to many questions on health insurance benefits, we published the article, "Answering Questions: More on Health Insurance Benefits," in the March 11 issue of Almanac to more fully explain our health insurance proposals.

Last week, we returned to the full membership of the Benefits Advisory Committee, which is comprised of faculty, staff and administrators, to provide them with feedback on the many and varied discussions, questions, and responses we have received from the campus community, and to seek their counsel and advice.

We anticipate recommendations from the Senate Executive Committee after its meeting later this week. After consideration of those recommen dations, we will forward our final recommendations to the President, Provost, and Executive Vice President.

From our perspective, this process has allowed for very informative exchanges and an unprecedented amount of dialogue on an issue of great importance to the University community.

-- Barbara Lowery, Associate Provost
-- H. Clint Davidson, Vice President/HR
Co-chairs, Benefits Advisory Committee


Volume 43 Number 26
March 18, 1997

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