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UGA Retirees Pack Meeting Held to Explain Health Benefits Changes


Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones

William Bell, a retired UGA research assistant, speaks to University System Associate Vice Chancellor Karin Elliott at a Friday meeting at Masters Hall.

A standing-room-only-plus-overflow crowd of UGA retirees, employees and family members showed up for a 10 a.m. Friday, Apr. 3 information meeting in Masters Hall at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education on campus.

The meeting was called for the purpose of explaining changes in the University System of Georgia health insurance benefits (previewed in Flagpole’s Pub Notes column by this author in the Feb. 25 and Mar. 18 issues and labeled “not correct” by Marion Fedrick, university system vice chancellor for human resources, in her opening remarks).

Karin Elliott, associate vice chancellor total rewards, explained to the retirees that rising costs have forced the Board of Regents to change from the present Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance plan for retirees to plans that can be purchased through an insurance exchange by individual retirees, with a subsidy from the university system.

Elliott said the regents would not know until August how much that supplement will be, but she stressed that retirees should be able to purchase insurance comparable to what they have now with a supplement comparable to what they have now. She also said, in answer to a question, that the regents supplement will be reviewed yearly, as it has been under the present system.

Andy Clonts, a senior sales representative with a chipper demeanor, represented the AON Retiree Health Exchange and explained the workings of the insurance market, stressing that advisors will be available to guide “you guys” through the process of choosing new insurance plans.

The retirees bombarded the presenters with questions at the end of the meeting, and an extra session was held immediately afterward for those who could not get in, as well as another regularly scheduled session at 2 p.m.

Having no other choice, retirees at the 10 a.m. meeting seemed to take a wait-and-see attitude toward the insurance changes, with information packets and counseling sessions scheduled for September. Enrollment in the new plans will be open Oct. 1–Dec. 31, and they will go into effect Jan. 1.