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
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/.