Minutes of the Campus Faculty Meeting
December 3, 2015
2:00 p.m. - Giffels Auditorium

John Pijanowski, Chair
Linda Jones, Secretary
Minutes Status: Tentative

Call to Order – John Pijanowski, Campus Faculty Chair

John Pijanowski called the meeting to order at 2:00

Approval of the Agenda

Without objection, the agenda was approved.

Minutes of the Meeting

Minutes from Spring 2015 were approved

Old business


New business



Barbara Abercrombie, Associate VC for Human Resources

Abercrombie reported the following and responded to questions:

Our insurance plan is self-funded; the stop loss coverage for catastrophic plans renews annually.  To support our plan, we must have termination liability reserves – cash on hand.

Why are we self-funded?  Decision made by the system office many years ago.  It allows us to control our spending a bit more than if we were fully insured.  When fully insured, you don’t have to worry how much money you have in reserve but premiums will go up as decided by the insurers level not at the system level.

When are we doing our RFP – Request for Production?  Abercrombie was told that that was not in the works.  She believes that to make a fully good decision, we ought to look at information as privately funded or fully funded.  Let’s compare. 

What do we do to get them to do this for is?  Have meetings like this!!  Information from other institutions would be helpful.  Send any information to the Fringe Benefits committee cholt@uark.edu.  The Fringe Benefits Committee meets monthly.

April 2014 things changed; large claims – a huge hit for a self-funded plan. Catastrophic events included kidney failure, heart disease, diabetes, premature babies. Claims were more than the premiums gathered.  Though we are self-funded, we don’t self-administer our program.  UMR does this for us. Their fees are small.  Seems like we are paying 6-7%, pretty standard.

Is this the new normal or is this a one time event?  As employees are added and as they age, it will affect the number of catastrophic events we see on campus.

Do we need a 3rd party?  We need one to be able to do the work, to make the contract negotiations for hospitals, specialists, providers and so on. 

How are changing health care costs affecting this?  Usually they are multi-year contracts.  They are ongoing…they are negotiated usually they are 3 year contracts. Some won’t sign until they get exactly what they want.

In the negotiations, how is it coordinated with UAMS? The third party is the negotiator.

Are contracts different from one orthopedic person to another? Yes.

If there is an advantage to going with a larger company, then why are we paying higher premiums and more coverage?  Seems like we aren’t getting the advantages.  Maybe we need to renegotiate.  How long must we remain with our current insurance situation?  Negotiations are underway; discussions are happening. For now, the decisions that have been made are made.  What we can do is discuss what we want this plan to look like in one year, three years, and so on… We have a voice, we have power in numbers.   We can make this known. 

Insurance should provide information on procedures for doctor’s visits – which doctor, what is their charge, and so on.   We need negotiated amounts from our insurance company so we can determine if we want the procedure or not.  What can we do?  You can call UMR before you go in. 

But, we may not know ahead of time; dermatology procedures for example. 

After this last change, the benefits are ridiculous.  We are losing a ton of money by going to 19% away from the 24%. How do we get back to an increased premium and adjust the benefits?  In order to make a change, we need to coalesce one, two, three ideas and take these ideas as a campus to the system office.   If we don’t want to pay more, we have to discuss ways to address this.  If we aren’t vocal about it, the system office will continue making changes. Be vocal!!

Why can we go back to the 24% and return the benefits back?  We can't return to the 24% because it may cost us more than 24%.

Retirees have been removed from the plan. They were placed on a plan that was more affordable and better for them.

We are self-insured and that’s why it’s important to look at other plans.

There are other things in the works for next year as well: 1) wellness coordinator on campus 2) weight watchers on campus 3) more time for exercise and meditation during the day, 4) better incentives for wellness.

A health expenses savings account would also be very helpful. We are looking at that as an offering next year.


The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.