Topic: Administrative

December 13, 2013

The Ball State University Board of Trustees has approved Anthem and Delta Dental as new third-party administrators for the university’s employee health care plans, a move that will give employees enhanced customer service options, a larger state and nationwide provider network, and bigger discounts.

Campus surveys have shown that health care is the university’s most valued benefit, said Randy Howard, vice president for business affairs and treasurer.

“Anthem and Delta Dental offer our employees the best combination of price, customer service and network of physicians, hospitals and dentists,” Howard said.

Anthem and Delta Dental’s networks have a larger number of the doctors, dentists, hospitals and other providers that Ball State employees use, which ensures that plan participants will have access to a broad array of health care services in Indiana, throughout the United States and abroad.

The move will potentially save as much as $2.5 million a year in health care claims through larger negotiated discounts and broader networks. A small portion of these savings will be invested in programs that further benefit employees. The majority of the savings will be shared between employees and the university, as the reduced claims keep pressure off rising insurance premiums, he added. While overall plan benefits will largely remain the same, employees will enjoy an upgrade in preventive dental coverage at 100 percent. Formerly, the first $50 was covered at 100 percent and the balance was covered at 80 percent.

Howard noted that the university will retain Express Scripts as its prescription drug provider. Ball State participates in the Indiana Aggregate Prescription Purchasing Plan, which is negotiated and run by the state of Indiana.

The switch to Anthem and Delta Dental will be effective April 1.

Also, for consideration at a future board meeting, the board discussed updates to its bylaws. Changes would include new titles for officers of the board, the establishment of standing committees and incorporation of procedures for electronic communications for board meetings.

The board also voted to clarify multiple programs that offer employees reduced tuition. The Fee Remission Program and the Educational Assistance Program were reshaped into two programs – one dealing with undergraduate studies and one for graduate studies. The new Employee Undergraduate Tuition Remission Program and Employee Graduate Educational Assistance Program also require that employees apply for the benefit by the first day of the semester.

The board also heard a proposal to increase room and board rates an average of 3.9 percent, with no increase to students already on the university’s premium plan. More than half of students take advantage of the premium plan, which means they would see no increase. Rates for incoming freshmen next fall would be 4.9 percent higher than they were for freshman in 2013-14.

“We’ve done all we can to control costs and keep rates as low as possible,” Howard said, noting that the university has implemented very low increases in the past several years. “Even with this proposed increase, our rates are lower than our competitors, and we believe we offer much higher quality and value than our peers.”

For the past five years, Ball State’s room and board rates have increased about 3 percent annually. Even with multiple measures to control costs, the increases are needed to cover costs that are increasing nationwide, such as those for food and health care.

The board will vote on the proposal at a later meeting.

In other business, the board accepted the financial report for the year ending June 30, 2013. An independent audit provided a clean opinion, which means the financial statements were presented fairly and in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.