In April, the Council of UC Faculty Associations drafted a letter of concern over proposed changes to UC employee health insurance options. Over 2,500 faculty system-wide added their names in support of these concerns. Now we have a response from the UC Office of the President (UCOP):
Subject: Health care options letter
Date: Wed, 6 May 2015 23:40:06 +0000
From: President at UCOP dot edu
To: info at cucfa dot org
Dear Professor Hays:
Thank you for sharing the Council of UC Faculty Associations’ letter of April 7 to President Napolitano regarding the possible restructuring of healthcare plans available to UC employees. I am pleased to respond on the President’s behalf. We appreciate having the Council’s concerns, and I hope you will share this response with your colleagues.
Let me begin by saying that there has been no decision to alter the existing portfolio of healthcare plans for employees, and there definitely will be no change in the healthcare plans offered for the calendar year 2016. Given the high cost of health benefits to UC as an employer (approximately $1.5 billion per year, and year over year increases in these costs of approximately 7 percent per year for the past five years), however, the University has a responsibility to ensure that it is making the best use of these funds to align them with the best interests of UC employees.
It is in this context that the President has had a series of discussions with Executive Vice President John Stobo, Human Resources, and representatives of the faculty Health Care Task Force (HCTF) to review our portfolio to determine whether it makes sense to expand the offering of self-insured healthcare plans. The principles of choice, access, affordability, and controlling overall costs for the University were our guiding principles. Going forward, we also want to be sensitive and avoid the necessity for faculty and staff to change doctors, so another objective is to minimize disruption to provider networks, with the major networks being Kaiser (a self-contained insurance company and network system), Health Net, and UC Care.
We have focused on self-insurance because this has the potential for providing the most affordable healthcare, it allows us to construct the provider networks as opposed to having those networks being disrupted by negotiations between the insurer and the provider (e.g., Blue Shield and PAMF at UC Santa Cruz), and it allows UC to have more control over the benefits provided. These discussions are ongoing, and they include the Health Care Task Force Chair, Professor Robert May, and Professor Emeritus Bill Parker, the UC Irvine HCTF Representative and former Chair of the University Committee on Faculty Welfare (UCFW). Included in these discussions are ways to include broader representation from faculty and staff.
Please be assured that we are deeply committed to the principles of affordability and accessibility with respect to our UC healthcare plan offerings for our employees, and we look forward to discussing this with you and your colleagues as we move forward.
Aimée Dorr, Provost
Executive Vice President—Academic Affairs
cc: President Napolitano
Executive Vice President Nava
Executive Vice President Brostrom
Executive Vice President Stobo
Vice President Duckett
Vice Provost Carlson
Chief Risk Officer Lloyd