System Governance

SAA Highlights July 2012

The SAA Highlights provide a brief overview of discussion items from monthly meetings of the Statewide Administration Assembly. SAA often reviews processes and decisions still under development, so discussions at meetings may not reflect the final or official views of the University of Alaska.  Consider these Highlights as informational in nature, not the final word on a subject.

July 18, 2012 meeting overview

The Statewide Administration Assembly held their last meeting on July 18. All meetings are open to the public, and Statewide workers are encouraged to contact their governance group to address workplace concerns, policies and other matters affecting staff. If you have any questions please contact SAA president Monique Musick at

The next SAA meeting will be Wednesday, August 15, at 10 a.m.

President’s Report

Monique Musick asked SAA members to consider topics or issues of interest that the group might want to focus on in the coming year. Next month’s agenda will include brainstorming for such ideas.

The future of the governance office is in question following Josh Luther’s resignation. It is unknown if Pat Ivey or Josh’s positions will be recruited for and replaced. Currently the governance office will be an office of one, Kim Fackler, and that is a cause of great concern.

There was no Staff Alliance update as they did not meet in July. There will be a two-day retreat in the month of August. One of the topics that will be discussed during the retreat is the proposed compensation increase for FY14. Anyone who has personal testimonials or industry data supporting an increase of up to 5.5 percent is encouraged to share that with Monique, as justifying that increment increase is part of the retreat agenda.

Calendar Change

SAA meetings will revert to the previous schedule of the second Wednesday of the month due to a conflict with the JHCC, which excludes HR executives from participating in SAA meetings on the third Wednesday. However, the August SAA meeting will still be held on the third Wednesday due to conflict with the Staff Alliance retreat. All future meetings, beginning in September, will be held on the second Wednesday of the month.

Bylaw Changes

Changes to the bylaws will allow the SAA President to designate an SAA member to serve on the Staff Alliance/Systems Governance Counsel in their place. Monique Musick and Dana Platta will serve on Staff Alliance this year, but in future years the Bylaw amendment will allow the President more flexibility in their role and possibly lessen the burden of being a Staff Alliance representative at the same time as being the SAA President.

WIN Program

Personal testimonies of the impact of the wellness program was a deciding factor in keeping the wellness as a component of the overall healthcare benefits for the fiscal year and WIN for Alaska as a vendor despite the request from JHCC to terminate the contract.

Tuition Waiver

No further decisions have been made regarding the Tuition Waiver Benefit changes. Meetings between HR, Student Services, and the Financial Aid/Business Offices of each of the MAUs is trying to vett the problems implementing the proposed changes. President Gamble wants eligibility based on GPA, though the Financial Aid offices would prefer SAP, as there are already mechanisms in place to track it.

Health Care Reform

Monique reported that Rachel Voris, new Public Affairs employee, will be working on a series of articles for the SW Voice (and MAU newsletters) about the impacts of the Affordable Care Act on UA health plans.

Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits, reported that the new Health Care Task Force is meeting weekly. They are working on getting a face-to-face meeting within the next couple of weeks. The committee is looking at trends, private employer plans, state plans, how other entities pay for health care (percentage based on total net cost vs. fixed dollar amount) and other resources so they can develop a selection of options to propose for the UA health plans.

The UA Choice health plans are well on their way toward full compliance with the national health care reform under the Affordable Care Act. While other entities were waiting for what the Supreme Court decision would be, UA has been pro-active in their plan design changes including: no lifetime maximum on benefits, dependents up to 26 covered without limitation, no exclusions on pre-existing conditions for children up to 19, implementation of an external review process, and employer health care contributions included on 2012 W-2s and pay stubs.

A straightforward summarization of each plan, set out as a 4 page report, is also required under the Affordable Care Act. This will be produced by Caremark and Blue Cross, utilizing a standardized, regimented formatting.

Governor Parnell declared there will be no state insurance exchange in Alaska, though it is mandated for 2014. Instead Alaska will utilize an exchange established by the Federal Government.  

The “play or pay” mandate, requiring employers to offer the national plan coverage to employees working a minimum of 30 hours per week or pay a fine of $2,000 per employee is not an issue. Even though it would be cheaper to pay the fines than cover the cost of insuring an employee, UA will continue to offer its own insurance, as it is part of the benefit package and important for recruitment and retention.

With all of the new mandates, the university will likely have to pay an additional $10-15 per employee per month. Though in 2014, UA will be able to offer incentives to employees that choose to be on the “wellness path.” Employees may be eligible for reduced premiums by meeting certain criteria. Currently such incentives are limited to no more than a 20% reduction, this will increase to 30% in 2014. This is to encourage employees to improve their health, and maintain a healthy life style.  

Eyes are looking forward to the implementation of the 2018 “Cadillac Plan” tax. However, there are two elections and six years to go before those tax provisions go into effect, and things could change.

The cost sharing on the health plans is currently set that 83% of the total cost for claims and administration being paid by UA, with employees covering 17%. In 2014, this will go up to an 82/18 split. With the plans, the 80/20 insurance co-pay will stay the same.  

At this point, since less than five percent of the employees are on the 500-plan, designs are underway for FY14 to phase out the plan. The current proposal for plan options is a 750 Plan, and two HDHC plans. One HDHC will be set-up to use with an HSA, the other an FSA. The opt-out option will also be eliminated. JHCC is waiting for analysis from Lockton on plan enrollment changes in FY13 before making their recommendations.  

Outside suggestions on health plan redesign options can still be brought forward to: Juella Sparks, Lisa Sporleder, Erika Van Flein, or Donald Smith, though this must be done soon. They are trying to tie the committee up and make their recommendations by the end of August.

ASEA Unfair Labor Practice

No official word has come back on the hearing last month.

Staff Health Care Committee Representation

Members of the SHCC for the next year will be: Linda Hall and Ivan Leibbrandt, with Heather Arana as an alternate.

Joint Health Care Committee Representation

Representation is appointed through Staff Alliance. With Lisa Sporleder no longer serving on SAA she will no longer serve on the JHCC. We do not know if her replacement will be an SAA member or not. Monique and Dana will provide information to SAA regarding the JHCC representation after the August retreat.

Butrovich Building Issues

The building signage/lactation room request letter was sent out following the last meeting. Kit Duke will be invited to the August meeting to discuss the options for the building.  

The janitorial contract is up next January, and there is little likelihood that the current contract will be renewed. There may be short supplies during the contract transition period. Jennifer Young will be invited to the August meeting to discuss custodial issues.

Extra hands would be appreciated for weeding the vegetable garden areas in front of the building.

Loading zone signs that have been installed out front appear to be working.

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