2011 TC Pressroom
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College Columbia University

TC Media Center from the Office of External Affairs

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Sounds Like a Plan

Choosing a health care plan is tough enough for families and individuals, so imagine what's involved for an entire college-'"particularly one that commits itself to inclusiveness and transparency during its deliberation process.

TC navigated that process throughout spring 2006 and in June announced that Oxford would be its sole health benefits carrier in 2006-07. The deliberations were conducted by a 16-member Medical Benefits Committee, with representation from faculty, staff and union employees. The committee-'"chaired by O. Roger Anderson, Professor of Natural Sciences, and Joseph Brosnan, Vice President of Development and External Affairs, and staffed by Randy Glazer, Director of Human Resources-'"solicited and reviewed bids from five national carriers, while also surveying TC faculty and staff on their priorities for a health care plan.

"This was a very demanding but satisfying process that took much time," Anderson said. "But eventually I think we all can be very pleased and proud of our collective efforts to provide a comprehensive plan that seems to meet the varied needs of  our community."

Oxford was chosen because it offered "the maximum stability and continuity of benefits, not only for current TC employees, but for retirees as well," Brosnan said. Oxford also will provide TC with the flexibility to consider future options such as self-funding, under which the College could reduce its costs by assuming direct risk for medical claims.

Oxford will offer TC faculty and staff the choice of three plans: the Oxford Freedom Access Plan, which is similar to the TC benefits that were offered through Oxford in 2005-06; the Oxford Freedom Direct Plan, which is similar to the Freedom Access Plan, but costs less and has a lower reimbursement rate; and the Oxford Freedom Exclusive Plan, an in-network plan that covers most services at 100 percent.

In August, the College also accepted the Committee's recommendation for a new employee health care contribution strategy for 2007 and beyond that requires everyone to contribute at all coverage levels. (See the box below for monthly contribution costs.) In developing the strategy, the Committee also listened carefully to faculty and staff who expressed their ideas and concerns.

Overall, says Glazer, both the choice of Oxford and the new contribution strategy are wins for TC. While some people who were in HMOs prior to the change will pay more for their coverage, the College has developed a mechanism to help defray their costs. At the same time, Glazer notes, people in this group will likely enjoy improved services and coverage.

The sign-up period for medical coverage under the new plans will begin on November 1, 2006, and coverage under the new plans will take effect January 1, 2007. Representatives from Oxford and from TC's Office of Human Resources will be available on campus for consultations before then.

 

Monthly employee health care contribution costs in 2006-07

                                                           Single               Single+1          Family

Oxford Freedom Access Plan               $17.87         $173.00      $259.00

(Similar to the current TC benefits offered through Oxford in 2006)

Oxford Freedom Direct Plan                 $11.61         $113.06      $168.98

(Similar to the Oxford Freedom Access Plan, but with a lower reimbursement rate)

Oxford Freedom Exclusive Plan             $14.14         $137.60      $205.66
(An in-network only plan, with most services covered at 100 percent)

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