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ASU System health insurance premiums hold steady for employees in 2016


LITTLE ROCK — Arkansas State University System President Charles L. Welch today approved a 2016 health benefits plan for campus employees that will result in no premium increases for basic health care and the addition of preventive care without cost sharing.

The ASU System’s self-insured health care plan was recently reviewed by Lockton, Inc., the world’s largest privately held, independent insurance broker, to assess possible efficiencies, cost savings and risk factors while maintaining favorable benefits and minimal premium increases.

“I’m pleased to report that we have a healthy self-insured program that is financially sound while providing competitive benefits and rates,” Welch said. “While we’re realistic that we won’t always be able to hold premiums steady, I’m delighted we’re in a position to do so next year because of careful expense management while proactively making it easier for our employees to access preventive care.”

Preventive care that will no longer require co-pays or deductibles include adult immunizations, annual routine wellness office visits and wellness screenings – such as colonoscopies – based on a participant’s age, said Jennifer Smith, associate vice president for benefits for the ASU System.

The plan’s out-of-pocket maximum for participants will increase from $1,700 to $2,500, but to minimize the impact it will now include co-payment amounts paid for medical and pharmacy in addition to the deductible and co-insurance amounts paid.

In other benefits changes for 2016, the vision care benefit will increase by $20 annually for frames or contact lenses with no rate increase and the dental insurance premium will increase by 4.1 percent.

All ASU System campuses participate in the self-insured plan, administered by BlueAdvantage Administrators of Arkansas, except for ASU Mid-South. Mid-South, which joined the system on July 1, will continue to participate in the Arkansas Higher Education Consortium for 2016.

The ASU System, based in Little Rock, serves 23,000 students throughout Arkansas and includes Arkansas State University, a four-year research institution in Jonesboro with an instructional site in Paragould; ASU-Beebe, with additional campuses in Heber Springs and Searcy and an instructional site at the Little Rock Air Force Base; ASU-Newport, with additional campuses in Jonesboro and Marked Tree; ASU-Mountain Home; and ASU Mid-South in West Memphis. For more information about the ASU System, visit ASUSystem.edu or follow on Twitter @ASUSystem.

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