Staff Assembly members listening as Michelle Whiteley explains the new benefits.

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TCU full-time employees should expect to see the cost of insurance benefits rise about 8 percent next year.

Michelle Whiteley, the director of benefits for human resources, talked about the changes earlier this month at a staff assembly meeting.

“The cost of medical care continues to go up year after year,” Whiteley said.

Last year, employee contributions rose 12 percent. Whiteley attributed that increase to new advances in technology and new medications arising in the medical field.

Whiteley told staff assembly members at their meeting earlier this month that 2017 benefits enrollment for full-time faculty and staff members opens Oct. 24.

It is mandatory that every full-time employee re-elects his or her benefit enrollment because benefits will not automatically rollover into the next year.

Staff Assembly members listening as Michelle Whiteley explains the new benefits.
Staff Assembly members listening as Michelle Whiteley explains the new benefits.

Whiteley said TCU is increasing its contributions to health savings accounts for employees enrolled in the high deductible health plan. TCU will double the contribution to the individuals to $1,000, and families will receive $1,500, up from $1,000 this year.

“That’s huge,” Whiteley said. “This seed money along with what you’re able to contribute can help you offset those immediate out-of-pocket costs.”

Whiteley said TCU will be changing its life insurance carrier from Mutual of Omaha to Unum due to a better overall price and increased coverage.

Under the new Unum plan, employees can have up to $1 million maximum coverage for the basic plan and an additional $800,000 for the supplemental plan.  Life insurance will be a part of the online enrollment system this year for the first time.

“There are some serious pros to switching to Unum, and they happened to have the best pricing,” Whiteley said.

The prescription plan will also be seeing changes. In the past, there were two options: the basic and buy-up plans. These two will be merged and there will be one option for all employees with medical insurance.

“There’s a flat $10 co-pay,” Whiteley said. “If the cost of the actual [prescription] is less that $10, you pay that.”

Human Resources plans to publish tutorial videos and hold sessions for employees to help with benefits enrollment. For more information, visit hr.tcu.edu.