U Of I Employees Learn Of Possible Health Benefit Changes

June 27, 2016
Graphic from Monday's meeting on the Chicago campus looks at possible changes to UI employee health insurance premiums.

Graphic from Monday's meeting on the Chicago campus looks at possible changes to UI employee health insurance premiums.

Screenshot/University of Illinois Human Resources

University of Illinois officials are warning employees to expect to spend more for health insurance benefits. But they say they don’t know how much more, or what other changes might be ahead in the coming fiscal year.

That's because health insurance benefits for thousands of university workers are linked to the AFSCME union contract under state policy. In meetings on all three campuses this week, U of I officials are telling faculty and staff that negotiations between the state and the union over benefits and other issues are at a standstill.  

Talks have have gone on since 2015, and any decision could be challenged in appellate court. These talks are not related to the AFSCME worker unit at the university.

The first of the campus informational meetings was held on the U of I Chicago campus Monday. 

Senior Director of the U of I’s Human Resources Administration, Katie Ross, also cited comments from Governor Bruce Rauner, who has suggested some of those premiums could double under a new agreement.

But Ross notes everything is still up in the air.

“I do want to stress that – there are no known changes at this time," she said.  "That this is not a forgone conclusion here. There’s still a lot of uncertainty, because this is subject to the negotiations that are ongoing and the labor board proceedings that we talked about.  Any appeals that might happened afterwards, and so on.”

The U of I’s second such meeting is Tuesday from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Hall Theater on the Urbana campus, and can be viewed on line.  The Springfield campus meeting is Thursday July 14 from 2 to 3:30 at Brookens Auditorium, and also available on line.

U of I President Timothy Killeen put together the Employee Group Benefits Task Force, made up of faculty and staff from all three campuses, to examine proposed changes and proactively inform employees.

Editor's Note: While WILL is editorially independent, the station is licensed to the U of I and its staff may be affected by any insurance changes.

Story source: WILL