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Working at CSU

Faculty/AP benefit improvements for the coming year

October 18, 2010

In August, we announced CSU's Commitment to Campus, a package of discounts and benefits we've put together -- under the leadership of Vice President for University Operations Amy Parsons -- as a way of thanking faculty and staff for their outstanding work in a time of constricting budgets and no salary increases.

The first package included free and discounted tickets to campus events, discounts for membership in campus fitness programs, and several other opportunities available to all employees. There are still a number of performances at the University Center for the Arts and a couple of athletics events coming up, and I want to encourage everyone to continue to take advantage of these opportunities.

Next phase for faculty and administrative professionals

Today, I’m pleased to announce the next phase of this Commitment, which applies specifically to faculty and administrative professional staff who are enrolled in CSU’s self-funded benefits plans. (State classified staff benefits are provided through the state of Colorado, rather than through CSU, so our classified employees will not be affected by these changes).

After analyzing our plans and considering recommendations from our Human Resources team, we are able to make the following improvements to faculty/AP benefits for the coming year:

  • For the first time since 1998, there will be no premium rate increase for the coming year on CSU’s medical, dental, and long- and short-term disability programs.
  • We will also be offering a new voluntary vision insurance plan to cover the cost of “materials,” including glasses and contact lenses.
  • Basic life coverage, which is fully funded by the university for those under the “cost share” benefits model, will increase from $50K to $70K.
  • Voluntary life insurance premiums for most employees will either decrease or stay the same.
  • Travel assistance coverage will now be included in both the Basic and Voluntary life plans, so employees who have purchased the personal accident insurance for the sole purpose of covering accidents that occur while traveling abroad may be able to drop this separate coverage.
  • We also will eliminate the current $4/month administrative fee charged to employees enrolled in Flexible Spending Accounts. This program also will implement a debit card system to eliminate the need for employees to submit paper claims for reimbursement.

Negotiated savings with providers

These savings and improvements are made possible through the agreements we’ve been able to negotiate with providers, combined with lower-than-expected claims costs. Our benefits consultants have agreed that freezing rates at 2010 levels is a sound decision, and it offers us one more opportunity to better support at least those faculty and staff who participate in our CSU-funded plans. A great deal of thanks is owed to our Human Resources staff and University Benefits Committee for their leadership in this effort. HR will be sending out information soon regarding open enrollment, which begins November 1. That material will include detailed information about all these plan changes, which will go into effect at the calendar year.

Monitoring updates to State Classified benefits

We continue to monitor what’s happening at the state level in regard to benefits for our state classified employees—typically, we start to get more information about those plans in April and May, with plan changes taking effect July 1 rather than at the start of the calendar year. We were pleased this year to see the addition of two new, redesigned medical plans included in the state’s offerings, along with improvements to the state’s dental plan and the long-awaited extension of state classified benefits to same-gender domestic partners.

Small way of expressing thanks and appreciation

I know well that everyone at CSU is working harder, with less support, given the budget and staffing cuts of recent years. We hope to continue to improve the benefits we provide through the Commitment to Campus as one small way of expressing our thanks and appreciation for all you do for Colorado State University and our students. If you have additional suggestions or ideas we ought to consider, please feel free to communicate directly with me, VP Parsons, or any members of the University Benefits Committee. We’d all appreciate your comments and feedback.

Have a great week,

Dr. Tony Frank

President