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UK PRESIDENT NAMES
HEALTH INSURANCE TASK FORCE

By Ralph Derickson

 

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The UK president established the task force in response to what he called the many "widespread campus concerns" over the health insurance benefit that had been expressed to him both before and after he took office July 1 as UK's 11th president.

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July 3, 2001 – (Lexington, Ky.) – University of Kentucky President Lee T. Todd Jr. today named a 12-member task force to review the university's health insurance coverage for faculty, staff and retired employees. The president asked the task force to issue a report with recommendations by Dec. 31.

Todd named Thomas W. Samuel, a professor of health management in the School of Public Health, College of Allied Health, as chair of the task force, which includes representation from all the university's employee groups. (See membership list accompanying this news release.)

The UK president established the task force in response to what he called the many "widespread campus concerns" over the health insurance benefit that had been expressed to him both before and after he took office July 1 as UK's 11th president.

"I believe it is critical for the future of this key benefit that there be a thorough airing of the program with all pertinent information relative to cost and usage made available to the entire campus community," Todd said.

A list of six key points the health insurance task force should consider in its deliberations accompanied the president's announcement. Among the issues, Todd said, is that the university must be concerned about the demographics of an aging workforce, the availability of expensive new medical procedures and the rising costs of prescription drugs.

"The university must protect the integrity of its health benefit by promoting the wellness of its employees and their families, assuring access to essential medical service and encouraging participation by all eligible participants," Todd said.

One of the more controversial concerns the task force will consider is the link between the university's contribution to an employee's health coverage and the employee's out-of-pocket costs for health care. Those costs increased sharply for the 2001-2002 insurance coverage period for UK employees.

One of the more controversial concerns the task force will consider is the link between the university's contribution to an employee's health coverage and the employee's out-of-pocket costs for health care. Those costs increased sharply for the 2001-2002 insurance coverage period for UK employees.
The new annual operating budget for the university requires UK employees who carry single-person UK HMO coverage and retired faculty and staff members who have single-person UK HMO coverage to pay $21 per month for their health coverage for the first time.

Samuel, a former member of the UK Benefits Committee and an advocate for university employees, said he would conduct the task force's work in an atmosphere of openness, including publishing its meetings' minutes on a Web site.
The task force, Samuel added, will seek and consider the opinions of the entire university community and the advice and counsel of health insurance coverage experts on and off the campus.

The members of the task force are:

Professor Tom Samuel, chair, School of Public Health, College of Allied Health; Sheila Brothers, Endocrinology, Medical Center; Debbie Davis, UK Research Foundation; Professor Bill Fortune, College of Law; David Hoke, Wellness Center; John Madden, retired professor of economics; Karen Mayo, Registrar's Office, Lexington Community College; Professor Lee Meyer, Agricultural Economics, College of Agriculture; Bill Reesor, Physical Plant; Ann Smith, Diagnostic Services, UK Hospital; Robert Stroup, emeritus faculty; and Roberta Young, Physical Plant.


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