University to examine effects of health care reform for employees

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    The university will work with benefits consultants to determine the effects the recently passed health care reform legislation would have on faculty and staff members’ health insurance plans, a human resources official said.

    It is too early to determine what effects, if any, the legislation will have on employees’ plans, said Tracy Thompson, benefits manager for the human resources department. The bill was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

    Thompson said she did not think there would be a huge impact on the university, but added it was still too early in the process to make any definitive evaluations.

    Employees’ health care plans are provided by Collegiate Association Resource of the Southwest (CARES), but employees are not required to have health insurance or adopt a university plan if they do not have one, Thompson said.

    Under the new legislation, businesses with more than 200 employees would be required to provide health insurance to their employees automatically, but employees would be able to opt out of the plan.

    Thompson said she did not yet know what the effect of that provision would be on the university or its uninsured employees.

    “Once we understand it all and our consultants have given us their input, we will certainly communicate to faculty and staff any changes and any way that this might impact them,” she said.

    Mary Jo Hatch, CARES executive director, echoed Thompson’s evaluation in an e-mail.

    “It will take us some time to understand exactly what the legislation means for us,” Hatch wrote. “We are working with our benefits consultants and legal advisers to understand the complete health care reform legislation package and its implications for our covered members.”

    Hatch wrote that CARES provides health care for 2,400 employees of TCU, Austin College Sherman and the University of Dallas combined.