Oct. 19-25, 2001
Back Issues
Health premiums to go up $1 to $9
Marathon team to run for Children's Heart Center
Study of captives in early Hispanic America shows varied treatment

Institute seeks to foster religious exchange and understanding

Poet-editors coming to Grounds Oct. 25
Rehnquist to give keynote address at law conference
Students help build public policy
Library exhibit explores music in American life
In Memoriam
Hot Links -- Safety and Security
Ghanaian drummer brings his beat to U.Va.
After Hours -- Cook blends artistic roots with scholarly pursuits

Health premiums to go up $1 to $9
Open enrollment period for other benefits slated for Oct. 29-Nov. 30

Staff Report

The rising cost of health care, particularly sky-rocketing drug costs, has forced an increase in employee health care premiums to take effect Jan. 1. 

The new monthly premiums, based on the annual analysis by the University’s benefits office, will be about 5 percent higher on average than this year’s. Single coverage will be $15 (up $1); employee-plus-one coverage will be $103 (up $4); family coverage will be $196 (up $9); and double-state coverage will be $105 (up $5). The new premiums remain less than what state employees pay in the Key Advantage Plan.

“Many employers across the country have increased their costs in the double digits and have decreased health benefits to address the rising cost of health care,” said Thomas E. Gausvik, the University’s chief human resource officer. “So far, we have been able to keep our increases to a minimum and without changing any benefits except the co-payments for some prescription drugs. If this trend continues, however, we may see higher increases in the future.”

The rising cost of pharmaceutical drugs is driving several changes to the prescription drug benefit, including increased co-payments and shifts in drug assignments within the prescription plan tiers.

“At U.Va., we have experienced a cost increase for the prescription drug plan of 32 percent for 2000 and 21.5 percent for the first half of 2001. We project a 20 percent increase for 2002 in drug costs, which is what employers are experiencing across the country,” Gausvik said.

Because of these increased costs, 30-day retail drug co-payments will increase in January: tier 1 will remain $8; tier 2 will be $16 (up $4); and tier 3 will be $32 (up $7). Ninety-day mail-order supply co-payments also will increase: tier 1 will be $18 (up $8); tier 2 will be $36 (up $18); and tier 3 will be $72 (up $37). No discounted co-payments will be available when more than a 30-day supply of drugs is purchased at a retail pharmacy.

“The reality we are faced with is that these increases are necessary to handle the increased cost of drugs in the marketplace and the increased utilization at U.Va.,” Gausvik said. “Participants will determine if and how much their drug costs will increase depending on their choice of drugs. Those who choose generic drugs or lower-priced therapeutic substitutions may experience a savings in their drug costs.”

The annual open enrollment period, which runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 30, allows employees to make enrollment changes to specific benefit plans. Packets will be mailed to employees’ home addresses next week. A schedule of employee meetings to discuss benefit plan changes is listed below.

Open meetings on benefit changes
Nov. 1 10 a.m. Newcomb Hall South Meeting Room
Nov. 5 3:30 p.m. Medical Center, Camp Heart Auditorium
Nov. 15 9 a.m. Darden School, Classroom 40
Nov. 20 3:30 p.m. Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room
Nov. 27 7:30 a.m. Medical Center, Camp Heart Auditorium
Nov. 28 10 a.m. Newcomb Hall Commonwealth Room



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