WKU Likely to Announce Proposed Changes to Employee Health Plans by End of August

Jul 16, 2014

WKU employees listened to a presentation about the future of the school's self-funded health plan.
Credit Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture

WKU is beginning to prepare its employees for likely changes to the school’s health plan. At a forum Wednesday afternoon, representatives from the school’s Human Resources Department told workers that WKU’s self-funded model is coming under significant strain.

The school says it saw a 13.3 percent increase in medical expenses in 2013 compared to the previous year, with expenses exceeding revenue by more than $2 million.

WKU is predicting that unless changes are made, the school’s health plan expenses could increase by 8 to 10 percent in 2015.

No definitive announcement was made, however, about whether employee premiums or deductibles will be increasing. Speaking to WKU Public Radio after the forum, Assistant Director of Human Resources Kari Aikins described the school’s timeline for announcing any changes.

“We’re going to continue to evaluate and model these options financially over the next month, month-and-a-half, and then start making some formalized recommendations to our leadership and President--through our benefits committee--and hopefully have something set in stone by the end of August,” Aikens said.

During her presentation in the Mass Media and Technology Hall auditorium, Aikens said WKU will likely continue to offer employees three health plans, although the choices might have different names, along with possible changes to the levels of co-pays and deductibles present in those options.

She also said the school was also considering offering separate health plans based on whether or not the employee used tobacco products.

Aikens spoke repeatedly during her presentation about how the school wants to make participation in its employee wellness plan more attractive.

“We’re certainly not mandating it. It’s always a choice for employees to participate or not. But we are providing incentives for employees who do. And we think it’s important that they complete the health assessment, first and foremost, so that they become aware of their risk factors through their blood work analysis, cholesterol, and all those kinds of things.”

“They first have to become aware of any health risk factors they have, and then they can access the wellness program and resources we have available to help with any problems that are identified during the original process of the health assessment and biometric screenings.”

Aikens said the WKU Employee Benefits Advisory Committee was currently studying three health plan options:

  • HDHP—High Deductible Health Plan
  • PPO—Preferred Provider Organization
  • EPO—Exclusive Provider Organization

Those plans would likely be combined with what was described as a health “funding vehicle”, such as a health savings account or health reimbursement arrangement.