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Committee to Study Retiree Health Proposal

Contact: Brad Duncan

 

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“This whole process has stimulated the university community to become involved in a conversation about a serious issue that touches us all.”

Karen Stefaniak
chair of the
Employee Benefits Committee

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 16, 2003) -- The University of Kentucky Employee Benefits Committee (EBC) voted to appoint a subcommittee to study further the proposed changes to the UK Retiree Health Care Benefit during its meeting held on Dec. 16. The EBC made this decision after reviewing the Retiree Health Care Benefits Task Force’s report as well as employee feedback gathered during open forums held in December.

The EBC voted to table the Retiree Health Care Benefits Task Force’s original proposal until it can be reviewed by a newly created subcommittee. Along with the proposal, the subcommittee will review changes in Medicare, along with suggestions made by employees and retirees during the open forums and those made by various constituency groups around campus. The subcommittee will include members of the EBC, along with faculty and staff who may have expertise in the health benefits area.

“This whole process has stimulated the university community to become involved in a conversation about a serious issue that touches us all,” said Karen Stefaniak, chair of the EBC.

During the meeting, Joey Payne, director of UK employee benefits and a member of both the Retiree Health Care Benefits Task Force and the EBC, shared with the committee numerous comments and suggestions made at the forums held during December.

Most of the comments made during the forums covered a few common themes, Payne said, with a couple of the most-mentioned comments referencing UK’s moral obligation to maintain the benefit without change and the concern for how some employees will be able to pay for the increases.

Suggestions from the forums also covered common ground. Payne said that one common theme was that current employees should be “grandfathered” in with only future employees facing the changes. Another frequently heard suggestion was that employees want a vested benefit, something UK is legally obligated to provide.

Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration Dick Siemer made a presentation outlining the business reasons for UK to study its retiree health benefits.

In the end, Payne suggested that the benefits committee develop a subcommittee to take the proposal and the comments gathered from the open forums and study the issue further to incorporate some of the employees’ suggestions. He asked that the proposal then be revisited by the EBC at a later date.

For more information on the UK Retiree Health Care Benefits Task Force, visit www.uky.edu/HR/benefits/retireetask/.


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