The University of Central Arkansas approved changes to its health and dental plans during a called meeting on Wednesday.
The UCA Health Plan is in its second year of self-insurance at the university.
While the health plan has a surplus of $854,479 through 21 months, the costs through the next 12-16 months will expected to increase between 10-13 percent, according to the resolution.
"Our Employee Benefits Advisory Committee and the UCA administration worked diligently to keep the health rate increase as low as possible," said Christina Madsen, UCA’s Associate VP for Communications. "Many of the employees participating in the BeWell incentive program, will actually see a decrease in their monthly contribution."
UCA’s Employee Benefits Advisory Committee and representatives from the university’s health plan consultant Stephens, Inc., met and recommended to the board that health rates be increased by 6.4 percent for 2018 based on reviews of claims data and medical and pharmacy trend information.
Stephens originally projected the need for an 11.9 percent increase, and in order for UCA to decrease that percentage, officials renegotiated with the current pharmacy contract and expect to save $209,000. That action helped lower that projection to 9.8 percent.
Furthermore, the university allocated $175,000 projected savings from the Gap Plan and $175,000 of its current surplus and was able to lower the rate to the board approved 6.4 percent.
UCA currently pays 72 percent of the health plan premium for employees, which puts the annual cost of the increase at $262,789. That will be charged to this year’s budget beginning Dec. 1, and the remaining amount of the increase will be charged to the 2018-19 budget.
Employees at UCA have not had a premium increase since 2010 when they saw a 2 percent increase — but they have seen other plan changes.
Regarding employees’ dental plan, there is no rate increase to the self-funded dental plan for the 2018 calendar year and no rate increase or changes to life, long-term disability or vision insurance.