Miami to adjust health coverage for staff spouses
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 22:10
Miami University’s health care policies for faculty and staff are in the process of changing. The changes are occurring because of both the Affordable Care Act and adjustments made by Miami’s Benefit Committee.
There are two different types of changes happening for 2013: premium changes and plan changes. According to Dawn Fahner, the director of benefit services, there is a four-step plan authorized by the University Senate benefits committee for premium contributions that started last year, the second step begins Jan. 1, 2013 and will finished by 2015. Employees’ spouses may also be affected by these changes, because Miami will no longer cover spouses if the spouse’s employers offer insurance with a premium of 50 percent or less. That means if both employers enforce this rule, then the couple could have separate coverage.
This change is not new to anyone hired after Jan. 1, 2008, because at that time the policy was already being put into place. When the employee was hired he or she was informed that the university would not cover their spouse if his or her [spouses’] own employer offered an insurance premium of 50 percent or less. So, only employees who were hired before 2008 are being affected, according to Fahner.
Fahner said the changes are not necessarily uncommon.
“There are some staff and faculty that have had questions, but some were also familiar with this rule,” Fahner said. “They are familiar with it because a lot of their [spouses’s] own employers enforce this rule already.”
Miami employees have the opportunity to make any changes on their health care plan during the entire month of October, which is referred to as open enrollment. Benefit services sent out electronic forms about the changes, as well pamphlets to the employees’ homes. They also have been offering presentations and help sessions to keep faculty and staff updated. Since open enrollment is still in process, benefit services has not received many of the forms for changes, and have not heard much feedback.
Entrepreneurship professor Mark Lacker has yet to look over the new health care changes.
“I have yet to weigh in at this point, the papers are sitting at my house but I still need to look them over to see if anything has changed,” Lacker said.
Those benefits changes are not due to the Affordable Care Act, but there are some changes being put into place because of it.
Miami has always covered preventative care for females, but they will now cover it in its entirety.
“This change will not have a huge effect on us but we will need to look it over and budget for it,” Fahner said.
Along with that, on employees’ W2 tax forms, Miami has to state the value of the health care premium.
Junior health studies major Melis Uras said she feels for the employees who will be affected by these changes because her parents have experienced similar things.
“My dad’s insurance coverage [cost] was very high, so when my mom got a new job we switched to [her] coverage to save money,” Uras said. “But, if changes like this happened at my mom’s work like what is happening at Miami it would cost my family a lot more money.”
Uras said she hopes these changes do not have a negative affect on employees and their families.