Faculty Benefits Committee Meeting Minutes

September 25, 2007, 9:30 – 11:00 AM


Present: John Grovenstein, Blair Funderburk, Bettina Cothran, Teresa Snow, Barry Sharp, Matthew McDowell, Clint Demetriou

Absent: Chuck Donbaugh, Lee Sheiner, Barbara Henry, Dale Atkins


Minutes from the 8/28/07 Committee Meeting were reviewed and approved.


New Business

·         Personal and Retirement Benefits--A presentation was made by John Grovenstein regarding changes to open enrollment.

o        The Board of Reagents will offer a new high deductible/ low premium health insurance plan.  This plan can be used in conjunction with either a health savings plan (HSA) or the flexible savings plan (FSA). However, an employee may not contribution to an HSA if they have any medical coverage (such as a traditional FSA) that pays medical expenses prior to the HDHP deductible being reached.  The HSA plan rolls over yearly and will continue to accrue, unlike the FSA. 

§         Clint Demetriou explained that this plan has both pros and cons.  It is advantageous in that it is consumer driven and, when combined with an HSA, can produce long term monetary gains for younger, healthy people.  However, of primary concern is that low wage earners may be attracted to the plan based on the low premium but have difficulty covering the deductible—at least for the first year.

§         Human Resources was only notified of this new plan two weeks ago, so it will be challenging to inform employees by open enrollment.  Information will be posted to the benefits website and efforts are being made to develop a decision tree chart to help assist people in deciding whether this plan may be right for them.

o        There will be open enrollment for the Board of Reagents Dental plan this year.

o        Health plan rates will increase this year.   All other benefit costs will remain the same.  Although higher than wage increases, the increases in health costs are consistent with national averages.

§         Blue Cross/Blue Shield Indemnity plan will increase 10%; Blue Choice 9.91%; PPO 14.5% and Kaiser HMO 2.6%

o        Effective in January, ORP retirement changes can be made quarterly rather than on a yearly basis.

o        Packets will be sent out and all benefits information will be online by Oct. 7th.  Over the long term, a short presentation will be developed that can be presented to various groups across campus to explain the new benefits options.

·         Group long term care

o        GSU is offering a new long term healthcare program during their open enrollment which ends on September 28th.  John Grovenstein pointed out that it might be good to look at offering this program in a broader context of voluntary benefits—perhaps bundling products together.  

§          Action Item – John Grovenstein/Blair Funderburk will get information regarding GSU response rate to Long Term Care after enrollment ends at GSU and share with this committee at the next meeting.

·         Drafted letter to the President/Provost regarding childcare was reviewed.  Chair will get additional input from members not present before sending it out.

·         Barry Sharp added military benefits to the agenda.  The issue was regarding clarification of GT employees who are called up to active duty.  John Grovenstein explained that military persons cannot remain part-time at GT when on military leave in order to cover their benefits.  They can either suspend their benefits until they return from active duty or draft it out of their checking account while gone.  After returning, it is possible to buy back their time while on duty for retirement purposes.

·         Christine Gallant from GSU has had further communication with the benefits committee regarding domestic partner benefits.  There may be updates to the issue in October.  The committee will wait to hear more from her before any further discussions.

·         Barry Sharp requested an update on the Chancellors’ initiative to change retirement benefits.  John Grovenstein cited two major changes:

o        The chancellor requests authorization to set ORP employee costs to hold constant for a 3 year term. 

o        The chancellor wants to allow all university employees who are exempt to have the option to go into ORP.

·         John Grovenstein informed the committee that 403(B) regulations are changing as of January, 2009 in order to make them more like 401(K) plans which are easier to keep in compliance.  Institute requirements include:

o        Written plan outlining rules for participant eligibility

o        Review and tracking of hardship withdrawals and loan amounts to meet 2009 compliance requirements 

o        Sharing of information requiring centralized record keeping

o        Annual written notices regarding eligibility

With respect to impact, this may lead to fewer vendor options.  Clint Demetriou pointed out that the options for investing within those vendors should still be sufficiently large so as to provide numerous choices for consumers.  Fewer vendors may also have the benefit of  being viewed as less intimidating when it comes to comparing and making choices.


Next Meeting

·         The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2007.