Fringe Benefits and Welfare Committee
Annual Report, 2009 – 2010


The Fringe Benefits and Welfare Committee met four times over the 2009 – 2010 academic year. Below is a summary of the issues discussed at these meetings.

1.   Medical Plan Annual Summary
The committee met in the fall of 2009 to discuss the annual summary of our medical plan. We reviewed the total claims relative to income from premiums and looked at the projections for 2010. Our claim costs have risen at ~9% a year which is line with the national average. The committee, with the guidance of Human Resources, reviewed a number of options to attempt to reduce our net claim costs.

A.   Health Risk Assessment (HRA) Incentives – The annual Health Risk Assessments are intended to be a proactive means to help keep the workforce healthy and identify potential problems before they become long term concerns. The hope is that preventive actions will save us significant money by reducing the number and costs of claims in the long term. A reduction in the net claims cost will help keep premiums lower. In 2008 – 2009, those who participated in the HRA received a $200 flexible spending account through Elkin & Associates. About 60% of the faculty and staff participated in the HRA that year. In an effort to increase voluntary participation for 2009 - 2010, a sizable discount was provided to those who chose to participate in the HRA this year. The committee together with Human Resource developed and distributed a FAQ for the HRA as there were a number of questions from faculty and staff about participation, what the screening entails, how to schedule, and confidentiality of information. About 85% of the faculty and staff participated in the HRA this year.

B.   Spousal Surcharge – The committee considered a plan that would either require a spouse or domestic partner to go off of Furman’s plan or pay a surcharge if the spouse or partner could be covered by another “Group” insurance plan. The surcharge would not apply to spouses or domestic partners who are not employed or whose employers do not offer health insurance. They would also not be applicable to children. The committee decided not to pursue this option, but is an option that will likely be revisited by future committees.

2.   VERP (Voluntary Enhanced Retirement Plan)
The committee reviewed a proposal to offer a one time voluntary early retirement package. The plan was a one to three year phased retirement plan offered to faculty age 60 and above. The committee reviewed and discussed the administration’s proposal with an emphasis on issues like sabbatical and health insurance coverage. The VERP was offered last December / January.

3.   The committee met this spring to discuss and review the potential impacts of the Health Care Reform Bill to Furman faculty and staff. The potential changes were seemingly few, barring potential expansion coverage for young adults. The meeting was more informational and next year’s committee will likely need to look very closely at the bill and possible implications to Furman’s health plans.

4.   At the spring meeting, the committee was briefed on considering a new health care plan option called a Consumer Driven Option. This type of plan has been adopted at other institutions and the possibility of adding such a plan will be something next year’s committee will likely consider. In a Consumer Driven Plan, Furman would pay all expenses up to a set agreed upon amount, and then the individual would be responsible for all expenses thereafter up to a certain maximum amount. Once the joint deductible is exceeded, Furman and the individual split the costs at an agreed upon %.

Committee Members:
Weston Dripps (Chair)
Susan D’Amato
Tim Patrick
Margaret Caterisano
Srjdan Smajic
Onarae Rice




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