In an effort to reduce the rate of increase both in employee premiums
and in Emorys cost in providing medical insurance for its
employees, an extensive project is under way this summer to redesign
employee medical plans.
The project involves some 50 people, representing all components
of the faculty and staff, working on seven committees to review
Emory's medical benefit strategy, re-evaluate the design of the
plans and select plan administrators.
Representatives from the School of Medicine, the Rollins School
of Public Health, Emory Hospitals and The Emory Clinic are contributing
their expertise to the project.
Health costs are projected to increase 14 percent in 2002,
said Alice Miller, vice president for Human Resources. Were
concerned that employees and Emory cannot absorb cost increases
of this magnitude. This project is an effort to maintain a competitive
medical plan, while doing our best to reduce the rate of cost increases.
It is also an effort to provide more options to employees. When
Open Enrollment comes around this fall, Miller said Emory may offer
three or four medical plans instead of the current two.
Another change will be consolidating into a single prescription
drug coverage plan and a single mental health plan; employees no
longer would need to select their coverages based on needs in these
There will be different alternatives, Miller said,
and were looking at some alternatives for the very healthy
and those who may not need as comprehensive of coverage. Were
finding new ways of looking at these issues.
Since the bulk of health care costs are driven by lengthy hospital
stays, expensive surgical procedures and intensive treatment programs,
the new health plans will encourage preventive medicine and disease
management, so that those who suffer from chronic diseasessuch
as high blood pressure or diabetescould avoid emergency procedures,
and so otherwise healthy people can avoid getting sick in the first
Emory is working with national health care consulting firm Towers
Perrin on the project, but Miller said there are no real models
to follow. With institutions of all shapes and sizes trying to cope
with spiralling costs for health care, the University is attempting
to create its own model for controlling costs while still providing
comprehensive, affordable health coverage.
Employers everywhere are struggling, Miller said. We
are trying to take advantage of Emorys brain power to come
up with a better way.
Executive committee members for the project are Miller, Don Brunn,
John Fox, John Henry, Woody Hunter, Michael Johns and John Temple.
The project began in late April, and a vendor should be selected
by August. Information regarding the new plans will be distributed
in September, and Open Enrollment will occur later in the fall as