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SFBC Minutes - April 23 and 30, 2009

On April 23 and 30 the combined Staff and Faculty Fringe Benefits Committees met with representatives of Premera/Blue Cross and Cigna/Great West respectively. The purpose of these meetings was to provide the committee members with information, compare the relative benefits and short comings of the two organizations, and assist the members in making their recommendations for the Colleges annual health benefits renewal for 2010.

The fact that this process was initiated this early in the calendar year reflects the importance, both fiscal and communal, that the committees feel this process holds. As most community members are aware, Great West has provided Whitman's health coverage for many years. Our broker, Parker, Smith and Feek (P.S. & F.), has supplied information and data to the committees on request. With medical costs rising at a rate equal to 2-3 times that of inflation, the committees felt further diligence was in order. 2010's renewal provided a perfect year to initiate this process, as P.S. & F. has suggested the College explore its provider options. The Treasurer's Office and Human Resources helped to arrange two meetings with the afore mentioned providers to compare service and coverage in the hope that a recommendation of preference would be the result.  Over the period of the two months, your representatives educated themselves in the complicated processes of insurance coverage and renewal.  After four meetings mounting to several hours of discourse, the committees have a better understanding of the challenges involved but still have many questions to be addressed.  P.S. & F. has offered to facilitate further meetings and Cindy Matern, Human Resources Director, has started compiling the projections that 2010 renewal costs will be based on.  This facet of the process began with the meeting in May.

The staff committee will continue to address this matter along with our regular business over the summer and both committees will meet again in September to start finalizing our recommendations.  We have included here for your review, a general comparison of both proposals and welcome, as always, the staffs' comments on this or any other issue concerning your benefits or your committee.  Look to this website for additional information regarding this complex subject.

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