Changes to benefits announced

Health care costs rise; retirement, tuition grant programs preserved

Beginning in 2013, the university will implement a number of benefits changes recommended by the Benefits Advisory Committee, with the biggest changes affecting health care-related offerings.

The changes include increases in health insurance premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.

Two popular benefits—the retirement contribution program and the tuition grant program—were preserved unchanged. Additionally, the committee minimized the financial impact of benefits changes on lower income employees.

The full report, with information about all benefits changes, is available online.

"We do not institute these benefits changes lightly," interim Provost Jonathan A. Bagger and Daniel G. Ennis, Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration, wrote in an email message to all faculty and staff earlier today. "We believe, however, that they represent a necessary and fiscally responsible step since our benefits costs have been growing at an unsustainable rate."

The 14-member Benefits Advisory Committee conducted a comprehensive review of the university's benefits program in 2011, then hosted a series of town hall meetings earlier this year to solicit feedback from the university community. The recommendations will save an estimated $13.2 million in benefits program expenses; the goal of the original review was to cut costs by $10 million to $15 million annually. Bagger and Ennis said the reductions are necessary in light of increased pressure on the university's funding and the rising costs of health care.

The changes are consistent with those at peer institutions and large employers, while staying below peer average.

A number of tools have been developed to help employees understand the financial impact of the changes. To access the tools and find additional information about the changes, visit and click on the myChoices tab. Those with questions can contact the Benefits Service Center at 410-516-2000 or via email at

The benefits enrollment period begins Oct. 19 and ends Nov. 12.

Posted in University News