Faculty Benefits Committee Meeting Minutes

October 5, 2005, 1:30 – 3:00 PM, OHR


Present: Dale Atkins, Bill Ballard, Michael Chang, Chuck Donbaugh, Michael Elliott, Blair Funderburk, John Grovenstein, Jean Hudgins, and Eric Southard.

Election of Chair for AY05-06

Michael Chang was elected Chair of the Faculty Benefits Committee for the 2005-2006 Academic Year. Michael Elliot was recognized and thanked for his past service and contributions as Chair. New members Bill Ballard and Eric Southard were welcomed.

OHR Update

The Committee was briefed by John and Chuck regarding several issues:

·        Open Enrollment is underway, with the biggest change being that it is earlier this year (10/3/05-11/4/05). Two email reminders and a brochure have already been distributed. Additional emails, posters, and presentations will be provided through the close of Open Enrollment, along with two Benefits Fairs (Atlanta, 10/19/05 and Cobb County, 10/10/05). In regards to the online benefits utility, several changes were made this year to make it more user friendly and to provide a printable confirmation statement that notes all the changes that were made. A comment was made that if any future requests for changes to the online system are desired, they need to be requested as early as possible prior to the next Open Enrollment.

·        Benefit Plan Changes for 2006

§         Indemnity / PPO – drug list: members of this plan should check to determine if their prescription drugs are covered (may need to switch drugs, e.g. generics or other comparable pharmaceuticals); Obesity Disease State Management Program created

§         Blue Choice HMO – bariatric surgery (stomach stapling) is no longer covered

§         Kaiser HMO – the standard plan was discontinued (only 8 employees were enrolled in this plan in 2005); several changes regarding co-pays, deductibles, and limits in service were made to bring the Kaiser HMO plan more in line with other plans (the Kaiser plan tended to be more generous).

§         Dental – there were no changes in premiums or plan design for the BOR Indemnity Dental, CompBenefits Dental Access, or Compbenefits Dental PPO. It was noted however, that the CompBenefits Dental PPO is the best “deal” if one uses an out-of-plan dentist.

§         Life and Disability – there were no changes in premiums or plan designs for all options, however a Statement of Health form is required for all life & disability elections/increases.

·        Medical premium increases (as a percent over last year) were provided for all plans offered by the Board of Regents for Plan Year 2006 and compared to national averages.

BOR Plan

% Increase





Blue Choice HMO


Kaiser Permanente HMO




National Premiums

% Increase

Lowest (Kaiser)


Highest (Humana)






The BOR plans medical premium increases were substantially below the national trends. Chuck suggested this may be due to our good plan designs. (Note: data on national premiums are from “Hewitt Associates’ Health Benefits Cost Survey.”

·        Feedback on the new Vision Plan that was rolled out last year: 300 families enrolled in the Vision Plan. A comment was made that enrollment in the plan may have suffered some due to information about it being hard to find (“buried in TechWorks”).

·        Flexible Spending Accounts: maximum allowance remains $5000 for 2006. 


New Business

·        Charitable Campaign now managed online. Michael E. commented that contributions to the annual Charitable Campaign may suffer this year now that departmental campaign coordinators are no longer being used. “Personal contact is important.” It was further noted that contributions may be down this year given other charitable demands (e.g. hurricane relief).  Regarding the former, John G. noted that this is an “experiment” (i.e. doing away with the departmental coordinators which provided inconsistent support anyway – some coordinators were very good, others not as much), but by using this online approach, the campaign coordinator can do instant queries to discover level of participation and can follow up with additional contact if needed. Employees were already provided an email and brochure.

·        Tech Directories – this came up during the discussion about online vs. paper. We still print hardcopies of the directories and this is the reason why there is a deadline for making changes to personal directory related information. Many administrators like to have the hardcopies, but it was suggested that the trend is away from paper directories and only electronic versions should be supported. The latter would make it possible to make changes to the directory at any time.

·        Drug benefits for retirees – The BOR is considering whether or not to continue providing drug benefits to retirees or shifting this benefit to Medicare Part D. The BOR will continue providing this benefit for now, but is studying its options (at this time, it does not appear that Medicare Part D is as good of a deal for retirees as they currently have under the BOR plan).

·        403(b) single administration provider – the BOR has notified UGA that it may take the initiative in contracting for a single administrator for all the 403(b) plans throughout the University System. The BOR is trying to determine if it can strike a larger and better deal than each of the individual universities could. (Note: the single administrator for 403(b) plans is being required by the IRS, but not necessarily at the BOR level). Michael E. expressed concern that the BOR selected single administrator may restrict choice in terms of what funds may or may not be made available and suggested that a single administrator under contract to Georgia Tech would be more responsive to our individual needs.

·        Out of State Medical Insurance – the Faculty Benefits Committee was provided a copy of a memo drafted by Steven C. Gordon, GTRI Orlando Field Office Manager suggesting there is a benefits inequity for out-of-state employees that must rely on out-of-network healthcare providers (and thus incurring additional costs). The Committee was advised that Georgia Tech does not have the authority to effect any changes that might address this, but that John G. would respond to Steven advising him of options.

·        Agenda Issues for AY05-06

§         Professional Leave Policy – features and benefits of paid leave; possible connection to the Capital Campaign

§         Long Term Care – this is a rapidly evolving product; has anything changed since our consideration last year?

§         Consideration of bi-monthly pay plan for all employees

Next Meeting

The remaining meetings for 2005 were scheduled via email after the meeting was adjourned. Through that process, the agreed upon meeting schedule is:

·        November 2, 9:30-11:00 AM, OHR Conference Room

·        December 2, 9:30-11:00 AM, OHR Conference Room

·        December 19, 2:00-3:30 PM, OHR Conference Room