“Life is not merely being alive, but being well.” — Marcus Valerius Martialis, first century poet
Along those lines, Open Enrollment is not merely choosing health care, but choosing to live well. This blog series will help you make informed choices by exploring in greater detail the benefits offered to Ohio State faculty and staff and the general environment shaping those benefits.
This first post will provide some context about Ohio State’s efforts to control costs that impact the university and individual faculty and staff.
We know that when our faculty and staff are healthy, everyone wins. Being healthy helps individuals and the university manage the health care costs that we all share. For example, our 2014 data show that 41.5% of individuals enrolled in our medical plan had at least one chronic condition and generated 78 percent of the total claim costs.
Not every illness is preventable, but living healthier leads to a better quality of life, improved personal and professional productivity and lower out-of-pocket costs. Like the quote above, it’s the difference between being alive and being well.
In addition to the health status of individuals, ongoing government policy changes also influence our costs. In the last five years, the following changes brought about by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) have impacted employer health plans nationwide, including Ohio State’s:
- Extending the age of eligibility for dependent children who can be covered under a plan.
- Expanding the definition of preventive care, for which 100 percent plan coverage is required.
- Limiting combined medical and pharmacy annual out-of-pocket maximums.
- Mandating new fees that added more than $3 million in cost to Ohio State’s plan in 2014.
- Investing in systems and administrative processes for eligibility tracking and reporting requirements.
Also, with the “Cadillac tax” that is set to be effective in 2018, we must continue to evaluate the total cost of the plans we offer and make necessary changes to ensure that we provide long-term sustainability of the plan.
Ohio State is committed to maintaining high-quality health care benefits that are an important component of the total rewards for working at Ohio State. As health care costs increase from year to year, we often make plan changes that can help manage and sustain the affordability of our benefits, while still ensuring their value and competitiveness in the market.
Ohio State’s health care benefits continue to surpass other employers. What the individual pays out of pocket compares favorably with what employees pay at similar organizations. Including contributions and the cost of services, the university continues to pay a larger portion of the total cost of health care than our comparators.
You can be confident in Ohio State’s efforts to manage our health care costs while maintaining the quality we all expect. Our next post will be about wellness in the workplace and what you can do to improve or maintain your health.
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