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[October 3, 2013]
Most University of California employees will see only small increases in monthly premiums for medical insurance next year and some people's rates will go down, a marked departure from the pattern of price increases in recent years.
The favorable developments on 2014 rates follow an exhaustive review conducted by the Office of the President's Human Resources department in conjunction with the Health Benefits Work Group, which has met over the past two years. The Work Group, chaired by Vice President of Human Resources Dwaine Duckett, was charged with keeping medical costs under control and maintaining UC's high-quality, comprehensive benefits package.
After the review, UC decided to discontinue four of its plans because they no longer offered the right value. Instead it is offering two new plans — UC Care and Blue Shield Health Savings Plan — that control costs and are tailored specifically to the needs of faculty and staff.
UC Care is a PPO that offers a broad network of providers, many conveniently located near UC campuses and medical centers. The Blue Shield Health Savings Plan is a high-deductible PPO paired with a tax-advantaged health savings account.
The four plans being discontinued are Anthem Blue Cross PPO, Anthem Blue Cross PLUS, Anthem Lumenos PPO with HRA and Health Net Full Network HMO. Health Net Blue & Gold, Kaiser Permanente, Western Health Advantage and Core catastrophic plans will remain available.
"Our goal was to provide UC employees with the best and most cost-effective medical insurance options available," said Dwaine Duckett, vice president for systemwide human resources. "We've done that by eliminating plans that were headed for big price increases, doubling down on plans that are the most popular with our employees and offer good value. We are also benefitting from the launch of UC Care and the new Blue Shield Health Savings Plan."
For Health Net Blue & Gold members, the increase in monthly premiums will range from $4.23 for individuals to $9.73 for family coverage. For Kaiser Permanente and Western Health Advantage, premium increases start at $2.11 per month for individuals, and rise to $7.17 per month for family coverage.
Employees in Anthem's PPO or PLUS plans or the Health Net Full Network HMO, which are being discontinued, will pay less next year, regardless of the plan they choose.
For example, if you're an employee in pay band 2 currently enrolled in Anthem's PPO plan with family coverage, you're paying $468.94 a month. If you switch next year to UC Care, which is a similar plan, you'll pay $366.01, a drop of $102.93 per month.
The chart below shows how rates will change next year for Pay Band 2. Employees in other pay bands will experience similar changes.
UC discontinued the plans because they were on track for continued sharp price increases or no longer offered the right value. If UC had stuck with those plans, the rise in monthly premiums for Anthem PPO and PLUS members would have ranged from about $60 for individual coverage to about $175 for family coverage. For Health Net Full Network HMO, the monthly increases were projected to be a bit more.
Changes in employee contributions to the medical plans for union-represented employees are subject to collective bargaining negotiations and rates for existing benefit plans will remain unchanged until new rates are agreed to in negotiations or become effective in accordance with the requirements of HEERA. Premium contributions for the new benefit plans for 2014, UC Care and Blue Shield Health Savings Plan, are the 2014 rates described on the Open Enrollment website.
For a complete list of monthly premiums for UC's medical plans, please visit www.atyourservice.ucop.edu/oe/medical.