President Huddleston on 2014 Health Care Premium Rates

President Huddleston on 2014 Health Care Premium Rates

Monday, September 30, 2013

Sept. 26, 2013

Dear Colleagues:

By now you have received notice that open enrollment for benefits begins next month. UNH and USNH leadership recognize the important role our employees have played in helping to control rising medical costs. As a result of this positive trend and to pass on the benefit of administrative efficiencies, plan design changes, and wellness efforts to our employees, effective January 1, 2014, USNH will implement only a 1% premium increase for the coming year. This is the lowest increase in recent history.

The changes USNH made to benefits as part of the implementation of “Total Rewards,” including a shift to a self-insured medical plan in 2012, continue to have a positive impact on lessening the effect of rising medical costs for USNH.

Across New Hampshire, medical trend rates for employers increased an average of between 8% and 9% in 2013. Nationally, medical costs are estimated to rise between 4% and 6% this coming year. This year’s 1% increase represents last year’s success and our continued practice of sharing financial gains with employees, acknowledging their direct contribution to the medical cost bottom line.
UNH strives to offer its employees a competitive benefits package. While our switch to self-insurance has been successful to date, it’s important to be realistic about ongoing external factors which have an impact on medical expenses. There are several future changes associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will affect our health care costs in the future. In fact, a delay in ACA implementation requirements until 2015 contributed to our ability to limit the increase to 1% this year, but, pending legislative changes, we will face additional costs in future years. Health care costs can be fluid, dynamic, and often difficult to predict long term.

UNH is committed to being an employer of choice, and providing a comprehensive medical plan is an important part of total compensation. We appreciate our employees and ask for your continued, active involvement in managing medical expenses during the years to come.

We will continue to offer innovative programs to make cost savings convenient and appealing. For example, the UNH Employee Clinic allows employees to receive high quality, low-cost care right here on campus. The Tandem Care program allows employees to review and select the low cost provider for common outpatient procedures and receive an incentive payment. I encourage you to learn more about these programs and services, which benefit the university’s employees and overall financial health at the same time.

More information on the 2014 rates and medical plan choices will be provided as part of the upcoming employee sessions and open enrollment information.

Best Regards,

Mark W. Huddleston
President