"We're faced with making significant plan adjustments," he told the regents, adding that the dramatic rise in drug costs is a driving factor for the increases.
While the premiums for a base plan, used by about 80 percent of the university's staff, will increase by 4 percent, premiums for Washburn's "buy-up" plan are expected to increase by 10 percent, Martin said. He said about 100 employees take advantage of the buy-up plan that offers lower deductibles and lower co-pays but higher premiums.
Martin said staff members in the lower pay categories will pay less for their health insurance under this year's rates.
"You're protecting the people who can least afford it," regent
Martin said Washburn will continue to pay for the entire premium of the single-payer base plan, regardless of salary. He said changes to the health insurance coverage include increasing the co-pay for the specialty office visits from
"The goal is to keep people from using the emergency room for primary care, but also not to discourage people if they have a true emergency," Martin said.
Washburn's portion of the premiums will be paid for out of the university's fiscal year 2017 fringe benefits budget.
According to board documents, Washburn officials "will continue evaluating our wellness program more closely with our health plan and look at options for future plan design changes."
Martin told the regents that the university's workers compensation costs have decreased by
Also on Thursday, the regents approved the expansion of Washburn's bachelor's of science in nursing program.
"We believe this is going to be an ongoing demand," Mazachek told the regents, adding that Washburn is authorized to offer the 18-month, online course in 37 states.
"We want opportunities to grow revenue for the university,"