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   from the issue of November 16, 2006

Benefits cost unchanged for full-timers in 2007


UNL's annual benefits enrollment period is delivering good news to faculty and staff.

According to Keith Dietze, director of universitywide benefits, health insurance premiums for 2007 will remain the same as 2006 for full-time faculty and staff at UNL. And, all employees enrolled in the three available medical options will see no increase in medical or dental premiums, as well as no changes in co-pays or deductibles.

"We're very happy about keeping prices unchanged for medical and dental insurance offerings," Dietze said. "It has been many years since premiums did not increase. In fact, I can't remember the last time this happened."

All UNL employees should receive 2007 NUFlex benefits packets this week.

Dietze pointed out that some part-time faculty and staff, as well as NU retirees, may see increases in health care premiums. A small portion of Medicare-eligible NU retirees will see a slight increase in their health premiums, and non-Medicare-eligible retirees will see higher premiums in several categories.

Generally, however, the health insurance situation is very healthy and Dietze said there are a variety of reasons why.

"This is the result at least in part to our ongoing efforts," Dietze said. "We have worked hard over the past few years to implement new health insurance programs that allow us to keep costs down. By keeping on the edge of new health trends, we have managed to stay ahead of the curve."

Dietze highlighted programs specifically related to wellness, disease prevention, and prescription drugs, especially greater use of generic drugs.

"We're seeing increased use of generic drugs," Dietze said. "Claims are down. People are taking better care of themselves."

The university will also continue to offer and expand health-related opportunities for employees. Those include an expanded disease management program to actively assist people with chronic medical conditions. Dietze said details on the program will be announced in coming weeks.

While benefits costs remain predominantly steady in 2007, Dietze stressed there are no guarantees for the future.

"No one can predict what will happen after 2007," Dietze said. "But, working together with faculty and staff, we will continue striving to put together the best and most economical benefits package possible for our employees."

For more information, contact Benefits at 472-2600.



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