Open enrollment begins, CSU increases contributions to cost-share model

Open enrollment for health and life benefits kicks off today, Oct. 31, for faculty, administrative professionals and non-classified staff. Open enrollment is the annual opportunity for employees to make changes to their health benefits, sign up for new programs, and add or drop dependents from coverage. The open enrollment period will continue through Friday, Nov. 18, with changes going into effect Jan. 1, 2017. Changes to benefits outside this period are allowed only for a “Mid-Year Qualifying Event,” which includes a birth or adoption; changes to one’s marital, domestic partnership or civil union status; and other qualifying life events.

Increased contribution to cost-share model

Health care costs rising faster than overall inflation, coupled with a high number of large medical claims over the past several years are impacting CSU’s plans. Together those two factors have set the stage for increased costs of medical plans and premiums.

open-enrollment_stethoscopeIn an effort to limit the financial burden on employees and reduce increases in out-of-pocket costs from rising premiums, the President’s Office and the Operations Committee of Cabinet worked with Human Resources to restructure the employee-University cost-share model for medical plan coverage in 2017.

The University will continue to fund the employee-only cost at 100 percent for the Green and Ram plans, but will also increase its cost share for employee+1 and family coverage, offsetting $354,000 in increased costs that employees would otherwise have to pay next year. Vice President for University Operations Lynn Johnson says the goal in shifting the cost-share funding model was to help make medical cost growth more manageable for employees.

“Although premium costs will go up across several plan levels, changing the ratio means CSU will bear a higher share of the increases,” said Johnson. “This allows us to keep our total premium costs and the portion allocated to the employee to an amount lower than our peers.”

CSU is a self-funded employer, and that means it has to cover all medical plan costs. The University began using the cost-share model in 2009 as a way to ensure quality medical coverage for all employees, share the cost of that coverage across the University, and invest in employees and their families at a higher rate around health care.

Monthly premiums for benefits

CSU employees will continue to receive basic life and short and long-term disability insurance, with the University paying 100 percent of the cost of coverage, and there will be no increase in monthly premiums for dental, life insurance and vision coverage. For medical plans, the monthly increase in premium costs for employees will range from no increase to $69, depending on the plan and coverage level:

  • Green Plan and Ram Plan – No increase for employee-only; employee+1 premium will go up $13 per month; employee plus family premium will go up $18
  • Gold Plan – Increase in premium of $8 per month for employee-only and $34 for employee+1; employee plus family premium will go up $48
  • POS Plan – Increase in premium of $15 per month for employee-only and $48 for employee+1; employee plus family premium will go up $69

For more information on open enrollment and tools available to help you decide what plan is best for you, go to

Benefits Fair, Flu Shots and more on Nov. 2

Spring forums: Re-envisioning medical plan options

Human Resources will partner with the University Benefits Committee next spring to host a series of campus forums on how to manage medical plan costs, given the rising costs of health care. The purpose of the forums is to discuss projected health-care costs and trends in the health-care system, explore future medical plan options and collect employee feedback. Human Resources will send out more information on the forums in the spring. The panels will include CSU experts with consult from outside professionals from the medical and insurance industries.

The “Re-Envisioning Medical Plan Options” forums are part of the Re-Envision Colorado State Initiative. In the year since Colorado State President Tony Frank challenged the campus community to “Re-Envision CSU,” hundreds of faculty, students and staff have shared their ideas for the future of the University.

Re-Envision Colorado State was launched by Frank in his 2015 Fall Address to the University and is being led by Faculty Council, Classified Personnel Council, Administrative Professional Council and ASCSU, with the involvement and support of the Provost, VP for Operations, President’s Office and External Relations. This leadership team has engaged Professor Martín Carcasson and his Center for Public Deliberation to help guide the campus discussion and solicit ideas and opinions from across the campus community.