PSU news by
Penn State's student blog

Topics

About

Penn State Reverses Course on New Health Care Fee

Responding to widespread backlash from faculty and staff, Penn State is backing off plans to impose a $100 per month surcharge on employees who don’t fill out a health care survey.

However, administrators say something has to be done soon to contain spiraling health care costs.

The survey is part a new wellness program called “Take Care of Your Health.” The university started the program in a bid to reign in what it calls out-of-control spending on health care.

The school estimates that health care spending will hit $217 million in the next year. That’s about 13 percent higher than last year — and the reason administrators say changes have to be made.

The rollout of the program triggered privacy concerns with some employees worried about who might have access to their medical records. Others expressed anger, saying that some of the questions being asked were invasive. Not only that, critics considered the $100 surcharge “coercive.”

President Rodney Erickson says he’s clearly heard the concerns from faculty and staff. In a news release, Erickson says, “We have decided to suspend the $100 per month surcharge so that people who are uncomfortable with any aspect of the survey will not feel as if they are being penalized.”

Erickson says he’s willing to work with employees to find a solution. “It’s clear that the interactions we have had up to this point have not been sufficient and this is a genuine attempt on our part to ensure appropriate input and consultation has been sought from members of our faculty and staff, he says.”

A joint task force will be formed to seek input on how to implement the proposed changes. Says Erickson, “There is still a tremendous financial challenge that we must address in the coming year and beyond, but we also need to acknowledge the concerns of employees and seek their advice on how to overcome these fiscal roadblocks and still provide quality health care.”

The University Faculty Senate is considering a one-year moratorium on implementing the health care changes. A vote on that moratorium is set for Tuesday, Sept. 24.

But the university says there is no time to wait. “The financial imperative is so great at this point, that we cannot institute a one-year moratorium,” says David Gray, senior vice president for Finance and Business. “We cannot delay the inevitable. If we don’t get on top of this challenge now, each and every year we will compound our problem.”

According to Gray, the surcharges for smoking and for spouses who qualify for their own health insurance will remain in place.

University employees will choose employee benefits for 2014 during the annual open-enrollment period set for Nov. 1 through Nov. 22.

About the Author

StateCollege.com

Posts from our partner website StateCollege.com.

Comments

More by StateCollege.com

Herwig’s Austrian Bistro Sets Closing Date

Owner Bernd Brandstatter announced in March that restaurant would be closing between June and August, but the final day of business has been moved up.

Former Penn State Football Player Denies Burglary, Assault Accusations

Spats Cafe Collaboration With Allen Street Grill Set For Grand Opening

Athletics

North Dakota Interested In Playing Against Penn State Hockey In Nashville

North Dakota is working towards an agreement that will see its hockey team play against Penn State in Nashville during the 2020-21 season.

Former Cal Swimmer Says She Emailed Sandy Barbour About Sexual Harassment Claims

Max Sauve Commits To Penn State Hockey

Penn State Women’s Volleyball Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Hoops Alumnus Joonas Suotamo’s Journey To Becoming Chewbacca Featured On ESPN’s ‘E:60’

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Career Services To Launch Integrated Career Management & Recruiting Platform

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

State Theatre Recognized As A State College Historic Site

As it approaches the 80th anniversary of its opening, the State Theatre has been recognized as a State College historic site.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting On A Service Trip

When Abby Wilt went on a service trip to Nassau, Bahamas, she had no idea she’d meet the love of her life.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

10 Questions With 2019 Class Gift Director Tom Beeby

Tom Beeby will serve as the 2019 Class Gift Executive Director.

Send this to a friend