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IU Encourages Enrollment In High Deductible Health Plans

Indiana University say it hopes more employees will sign up for a high-deductible health care plan in the coming year.

Associate Vice President for Human Resources Daniel Rives says the university wants to expand enrollment in its already-popular Health Savings Account, or HSA plan. In that high-deductible option, both an employee and the university put money in a special savings account.

The employee can then use the money for health care costs, or choose to use it as income. Rives says university workers benefit from that flexibility and the university saves money because those employees spend more prudently.

“It is marvelous how much attention individuals will give when they start looking at the cost of health care,” he says. “When you have to pay for it, your money or debit card money, it has a very interesting effect on consumers.”

Ed Vasquez, the president of the union that represents Bloomington support staff, says the HSA plan is out of reach for many other university workers. This is because the university modeled contributions for that option on an employee who earns $51,000 a year.

Vasquez says that is not close to what support staff earns in salary. He says he wishes the university would consider the wages of support workers when modeling insurance options like the HSA.

“Health care goes up, our pay doesn’t go up as much, and it makes us nervous, and sometimes we feel neglected,” Vasquez says.

Rives says the university plans to cover six percent of the six-point-seven percent increase in next year’s HSA deductible. IU’s lower-deductible plans are set to cost about 14 percent more.

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