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May 8, 2007, Volume 53, No. 33

The following year-end report was summarized at the April 25 Council meeting by committee chair, Dr. David Freiman.

2006-2007 Personnel Benefits Committee Report

The Committee will have met six times this year. Supplemental Long-term Disability, Behavioral Health, Medical Coverage for Faculty and Staff When Traveling and Prescription Drugs were the dominant topics discussed. The Committee also discussed the Condition Management Program with Caremark and the Employee Benefits Budget.

1. Supplemental long term disability insurance. In a short period of time, essentially over the summer of 2006, HR administration developed a plan to allow employees to post-tax money to buy guaranteed issue Supplemental Long-term Disability Insurance. In addition to responding to requests from employees this is another tool for Penn to compete with comparable institutions for faculty and staff. The response rate has been close to 10% of eligible participants so far.

2. Health care options for faculty and staff who travel. We were informed that in this country, the Independence Blue Cross (IBC) type plans appear to be a workable solution. IBC presented options available to faculty and staff traveling within the country and internationally, including the primary advantages and major differences between the IBC Personal Choice, POS and HMO benefits. While the PPO Network consists of 660,000 physicians and 5,600 hospitals nationally, there are 31,000 physicians and specialists and 100 hospitals under the POS and HMO coverage with referred-care plans. For world-wide travel, participants in all plans may call 1-800-810-BLUE (2583) to obtain information on participating doctors and hospitals around the world. However, a referred-care participant is eligible for only emergency and urgent care outside the preferred area. 

3. Prescription Drug Program:  Caremark, Penn’s prescription drug provider, presented to the Committee and explained the key components/elements of the prescription drug program: steering towards generics, change in maximum out of pocket costs and aligning retiree coverage with actives. The cost savings were detailed in the iBenefit Statements which inform participants about the savings to them when electing generic alternatives.  

4. Medical and Dental Rates for Active Employees. The methodology and assumptions used for calculating these rates were presented and discussed at the meetings.

5. Review part-time employee benefits. Due to the absence of data on part-time faculty, the Provost’s Office has requested that a review of this program be deferred.

6. Follow up issues raised in last year’s committee reports.

a. Behavioral health issues. In our last two meetings (April and May) we will focus on mental health with presentations by Penn Behavioral Health staff on our current benefits utilization, plan design and parity issues.

b. Examine tuition assistance program for staff pursuing coursework outside the University.  

7. Initiatives for Fiscal Year 2008. Will be determined at our May meeting but will undoubtedly include behavioral health provider and parity issues.

 It is a pleasure to acknowledge the support provided to the committee by the Human Resources staff, in particular by Leny Bader, Executive Director of Benefits; Helena Gibbons, Senior Benefits Specialist; Janice Gaspari, Secretary; and Geri Zima, Manager of Benefits Administration who provided staff support to the Committee and the sage advice and council of John Heuer, VP of Human Resources.

2006-2007 Committee Members

Chair:  David B. Freiman (radiology/med); Faculty: Erling Boe (GSE), Patricia Danzon (Wharton/healthcare), Howard Goldfine (microbiology), Andrew Metrick (Wharton/fin), Gerald Porter (math), Mark Tykocinski (path/lab), Ingrid Waldron (biology); PPSA:  Valerie Dorn (SEAS), Anna Loh (Wharton/HR), Pat Rose (Career Services); WPSA: Candice Cozart (Affirmative Action), Sandra Masiak (CCEB), Doris Showers (GSE); Ex-officio:  Elenita Bader (Dir, Benefits), Janice Bellace (Assoc. Provost), John Heuer (VP, Human Resources).

Almanac - May 8, 2007, Volume 53, No. 33