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  Melissa Lane
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Wednesday September 16, 2015


Chair Debbie Copp called the meeting to order at 1:32 p.m. in the Scholars Room of the Oklahoma Memorial Union.
Officers present – Debbie Copp, Chair; Matthew Rom, Chair-Elect; Cecilia McEwen, Recording Secretary

Officers absent – John Bishop, Immediate Past Chair

Staff present – Melissa Lane, Administrative Coordinator

Representatives present – Hourly Employees Council: Kristen Holmes, David Kizer, Ross Mehl, Judy Oliger, Emilie Bozek, Stephanie Gerhard, Dennis Erfourth; Informational Staff Association: Dan Hough, Richard Snelling, Sarah Connelly, Priscilla Crawford; Organizational Staff Council: Betty Love, Kristi Wright, Sam Fellows, Marissa Pierson; Administrative Staff Council: Sue-Anna Miller, Paul Arcaroli

Representatives absent — Hourly Employees Council:  Sharrie Sanders; Informational Staff Association: Carl Sinclair, Corey Helms; Organizational Staff Council: Chase Abbott

Guests present — Eric Grubbs


On motion by Kristen Holmes, the minutes of July 15, 2015 Staff Senate meeting were accepted.


Debbie Copp reported the following; I. Administrative Affairs Liaison: Drew Allensworth has been appointed to the position on a full-time basis.  II. August meeting: Chairs and chair-elect plus chairs of standing committees had a luncheon in August. Spent the time getting to know one another and talking about Staff Senate.  III. Staff Week Chair: Tommy Bui has resigned from OU (last day was Sept. 11) … will be working with Melissa and committee to find a new chair who can hit the ground running.  IV. Meetings with Nick: Will be done on an as needed basis … she has a couple of emails to send him this week.


Administrative Staff Council:  President Sue-Anna Miller said that the new ASC officers met on August 21, 2015 to plan the year for ASC.  They determined that they wanted to stress networking and collaboration for this year, and so many of their meetings will be geared around facilitated round-table discussions about topics of interest to ASC members.  They will begin meeting in September following the Staff Senate meeting (likely on Wednesdays around noon), and each meeting will contain a business portion where Staff Senate issues are conveyed and discussed.  Two highlights for their year will be a tour of the new 5th floor area of the Library, and a meeting with Nick Hathaway that they are hoping he will agree to, and they plan to invite all member groups to this meeting.

Hourly Employees Council:  President-Elect Kristen Holmes reported that they met last Wednesday September 9 in the CCE building. They discussed vacancies in three areas and appointed individuals to represent HEC in Staff Senate. A motion was made to discuss the current policies that are in place for Shared Leave. They have tabled this discussion till next month when they can have a representative of HR come in to answer a few questions that they have. They also appointed members to various committees within HEC.

Informational Staff Association:  President Dan Hough reported that they met on September 2 at the Well Construction Technology Center on North Campus.  After introductions and a brief business meeting, we took a tour of the facility by Jeff McCaskill.

Organizational Staff Council:  President Betty Love reported by email that they met Sept. 10, 2015 in Hester Hall.  Kaydee Dyer, International Programs Coordinator, College of International Studies spoke to the group about being a friend to an international student; a program that is overseen by Kaydee.  They elected Sharon Winslow as an OSC Representative to replace Susan Coldwater, who resigned.  They discussed their annual Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser that will take place on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.  Announcements included the United Way pledge drive & Weather Committee meeting. Their next meeting will be at Partner’s Place 5, inviting members to stop by PP3 and pick up lunch from HFS food truck and bringing lunch to meeting.


Awards Committee:  By email Chair Liz Cooley reported that they met yesterday.  The meeting was to get organized for this fiscal year.  Their next meeting will be discussing the budget for the Awards Ceremony.  Cindy Smith will send an email out to the Committee of the new catering menu for review.  Dan Hough will continue to serve as the Hospitality Chair and Kim Moser was appointed secretary.

Communications Committee:  By email Chair Gina Powell reported that the committee did not meet.

Staff Initiatives Committee:  Chair Sam Fellows reported that everyone introduced themselves to the other committee members. Announcements included OSC fundraiser. The committee discussed last year business of tuition waivers and how to move forward. They discussed meeting locations for the year and the need to attend meetings. Committee will review termination policy (at the request of an employee) to determine if there should be changes in wording.
Staff Week Committee:  The committee met and did introductions, and began going over duties of the subcommittees.  The Staff Senate is currently seeking a new Chair for the committee.


Employee Benefits Committee:  Debbie Copp reported that in July the following was discussed: I. LTC letter:  Several OU retirees have reported getting letters from other LTC providers about rate increases. These are happening in advance of the changes that will start happening in Feb. 2016. Pay close attention and read these letters if you get them from OU’s LTC provider, CNA. II. 2016 Benefits: Reserves well over projected amounts. Norman campus claims exceeded $3 million in April and May with the majority of the claim increases related to prescription drug claims. From 2014 to 2015, there has been a 19% increase per member per month. Utilization of generics is increasing and less than 0.5% of the claims account for more than 20% of the total spend. Annual benefit increase for PPO and High Deductible plan is projected to be 4.1%, Medicare 22% and HMO 13.9%.  Benefits will bring options to the meeting in August to look at going forward. Expect dependent tuition  waiver to have a positive impact. Also discussing a claims audit to ensure that claims are being paid correctly. May also look at the options available with prescription drugs. III. Long Term Care: Continue to anticipate rate increases once the group plan expires. Only new employees and current enrollees will be allowed to enroll with CNA during open enrollment. Payments for LTC will no longer be deducted from OU paychecks. IV. Retirement: Numbers are showing people are staying with OU longer before they retire. Voluntary contributions to retirement based on a percentage of salary has been completed on HSC campus and will be finished soon on Norman campus. Norman campus employees will see their start with July check. V. Wellness: Dental screenings from Delta will be added to select health screenings at no charge to employee or University. Will start in August on Norman and OKC campuses, October for those two plus Tulsa. Standing desk program ready to roll out – have 100 desks for both OKC and Norman campuses, 20 for Tulsa. Also a 10% discount if OU employee wants to purchase one on his/her own. V. Director updates: Supreme Court rulings on ACA allows subsidies in states with health care exchanges set up by federal government. We hope to have recommendations for 2016 benefit year ready soon for EBC to review.

Debbie Copp reported that in August the following was discussed: I. 2016 Benefits: After a presentation from our consultants, we discussed a number of options for recommendations for the 2016 benefit year. While the PPO continues to stay under the national average, the HMO is looking at double digit increases for 2016. Our discussions centered around things we could do that might keep HMO from going any higher. As a result of these discussions, the EBC made the following rate recommendations to the Administration. Final decisions will be made at the October Regents’ meeting. Enrollment is scheduled for Oct. 26 – Nov. 13.

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma PPO:   2.0%
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma HSA: 2.0%
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma HMO:  13.9%
  • Delta Dental of Oklahoma:   No Change
  • The Standard (Life, AD&D, & LTD): No Change
  • VSP Vision Plan: 17.4%

The PPO rates reflect the positive claims experience under the self-insured arrangement which was implemented in 2015.  Under this arrangement OU was able to realize savings on profit, risk, and state premium taxes, and benefits from reduced fees and taxes under the Affordable Care Act. Proposed changes to the 2016 OU benefit program are described below:

  1. Under the current fully-insured arrangement on the HMO, OU pays for fees and taxes that are not paid by self-funded plans. Combined with high claims experience, the HMO rates will increase 13.9% for 2016. Given the declining HMO enrollment over the past five years, the committee recommends freezing the HMO to new participants in 2016. Freezing the plan allow the University to develop and implement an alternate benefit plan design and provide current HMO members a one year period evaluate other benefit choices.

B.    The EBC also recommends a full replacement of the current BlueEdge HCA (high deductible) plan with a qualified Consumer Driven Health Plan that includes a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA).  Under the current plan there is a Healthcare Reimbursement Account which is OU funded with $500/individual and $1000/family.  Employees are not allowed to make contributions and any remaining dollars are forfeited should the employee leave OU. With the proposed HSA plan employees would be allowed to make additional contributions and receive tax benefits.   Dollars contributed to the HSA may also be carried over year to year and are portable.  The HSA arrangement will also allow employees to save for insurance premiums in retirement.  In addition to the tax saving and long-term healthcare savings advantages, providing a true CDHP will encourage members to actively manage the cost of their health care and encourage positive lifestyle choices.               

C.    It is widely known that healthcare costs for tobacco users is significantly higher than for non-tobacco users. Therefore, the EBC recommends that a $25 tobacco surcharge be added to the monthly premium for tobacco users. Employees will be required to attest to being a tobacco or non-tobacco user during the annual enrollment process and premiums will be charged accordingly.

D.    Finally, the EBC recommends discontinuing the $50 per month subsidy for employees who waive OU medical coverage.  The waiver subsidy increases benefit costs while not contributing to the overall value of the plan.  Eliminating the waiver subsidy will result in annual savings of$500,000.

II. Retirement Update: The voluntary contribution plans are in place.  III. Wellness Update: Nearly 900 have already registered for the Fun Run. Additionally, the standing desk program has been rolled out with great reactions to the plan. The August and October health screenings will include dental.  IV. Director updates :  We will be doing an RFP for the Flexible Spending Account company.


The following reports were linked to the September agenda:

Staff Senate Foundation account report
Minutes of Employment Benefits Committee meeting for April 2015





As there was no further business, the meeting adjourned at 2:24 p.m.

NEXT REGULAR MEETING:  October 21, 2015

Respectfully submitted,
Melissa Lane
Administrative Coordinator

Cecilia McEwen
Recording Secretary


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