University of Colorado Retired Faculty Association
Minutes of October 20, 2010 Meeting

The annual fall meeting of the University of Colorado Retired Faculty Association was held on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 in the University Memorial Center, Boulder Campus, Room 235.

  1. The meeting was called to order by President Jim Wolf at 10:00 AM.
  2. Jim Wolf read the names of retired faculty members or spouses who died in the past six months. The following names were read.

Caroline Corkey Bollinger UCD/HSC

Roberta Marie Bonde UCB

Elise Boulding UCB

James Brancheau UCB

Clint Fisher UCCS

James Paterson Frank UCB

Anna Goodnow UCB

Mary Mack Greene UCCS

Mary Louise Oswald Griffitts UCB

Gerald Arthur Holien UCB

Clyde Martz UCB

Robert McCurdy UCD/HSC

Donald John Patton, Sr. UCB

Ivar Pearson UCB

Roslyn M. Pfaff UCB

James Telgen Peterson UCB

John K. Prentice UCB

Dorothy M. Rosenberger UCB

Edward Rozek UCB

Neal Hartley Sadler UCB

Herbert H. Sauer UCB

Stephen Schneider UCB

John Wesley Thaxton UCB

Those in attendance stood in silence in memory of these people.

  1. Those present regaled Martin Cobin with a rendition of Happy Birthday! on the occasion of his 90th birthday.
  2. The minutes of the April 21, 2010 meeting were approved with two minor corrections.
  3. Gloria Main gave a brief treasurer’s report, thanking President Benson and his staff for ongoing support of $7500 (the annual amount of $5000 plus a new contribution of $2500 for the CURFA Research Grants program). The report shows $21,195.86 on hand in assets, income of $15,835.00 for Aug 1, 2009 – July 31, 2010, and expenses of $12,939.99 for Aug 1, 2009 – July 31, 2010. Budgeted expenses for 2010/2011 are $15,950.
  4. Jim Wolf gave the President’s report.
  • The new CURFA Research Grants program is now underway. Five grants of $500 will be awarded to cover travel, photocopying, and other incidental research expenses. The program is open to all retired faculty members, regardless of CURFA membership. The selection committee is chaired by Tom Duncan.
  • Alan Kirkpatrick and Neil Ashby were commended for their work on the newsletter and the web site, respectively. Jim suggested including material from the newsletter (for example, Staying in Touch) on the web site.
  • Before leaving office, Jim is considering designing a small brochure that summarizes the purposes, activities, and benefits of CURFA.
  • Jim noted that he “is not too happy about” the lack of member response to various initiatives (such as volunteer work). He wondered about what new activities for and new outreach efforts by CURFA members might be successful.
  • Jim recognized the work of the Executive Board during the past year. He cited the work of Past-President Chuck Howe and sent his best wishes to Past-President Cort Peterson, who is seriously ill.
  1. Nort Steuben noted that the job of Vice President continues to grow. The job entails serving as social chairman, and he cited four successful social programs in the past year. The job also includes directing the tutoring and mentoring program, which to date has had no volunteers. And the Vice President is also chair of the Nominating Committee for officers and committee members. This year Nort has served with Gloria Main and Jim Scarritt on the Nominating Committee.
  2. Membership Committee chair Bill Jones continues to work hard to update the membership files. He reported that there are approximately 700 people on the list (including spouses and new members) of whom about 350 are current with their dues. Bill received names of 52 new retirees for the 2009-2010 academic year. In addition 17 names of new retirees were received from the central administration without campus designation. CURFA still needs to find a more systematic and reliable way to obtain lists of new retirees from the campuses that includes email addresses.

Jim Wolf mentioned the unique structure of retired faculty groups on the various campuses. Health Sciences Center and UCCS have their own local retired faculty organizations, while CURFA serves as Boulder’s local organization. The downtown campus has only a nascent retired faculty organization. How much coordination should exist among these various organizations?

  1. Ombudsperson Lee Potts reported that she continues to receive questions about Eco-Passes, particularly for part-time faculty members. Despite the University’s attempts to change RTD’s policy, only those faculty members who are at least 20% part-time are eligible for Eco-Passes; therefore, the current RTD policy excludes fully retired faculty members.
  2. Stuart Schneck, the CURFA representative to UBAB, gave a detailed and informative report on health plans and benefits. He began by reiterating four changes due to the new health care legislation that will take place in 2010.
  • Income levels on which premiums for Medicare Part B are based will be frozen until 2020.
  • People with Medicare Part D medication coverage will receive or already have received $250 this year when they enter the “doughnut hole.”
  • Small rural hospitals will receive increased Medicare payments in order to approach parity with larger hospitals.
  • Government payments to insurers for Medicare Part C enrollees in the Medicare Advantage plans will be frozen at 2010 level and will gradually decrease in the future.

Stuart then summarized the changes due to the health care legislation for 2011.

  • Traditional Medicare recipients can have free annual physical exams and a waiver of cost-sharing for certain preventive services.
  • Those with Part D medication coverage will get a 50% discount on brand name medications when they are in the “doughnut hole,” with increasing discounts until the hole disappears in 2020.
  • There will be a 10% Medicare bonus payment to primary care physicians and general surgeons.

Stuart noted that the recently completed health insurance dependent verification audit resulted in 1000 dependents being dropped from coverage and a savings for CU of about $2 million; the project cost was $150,000.

Stuart reported on the progress of CU’s newly instituted self-insurance plan. After a “rocky” start, the plan is up and running, with more conclusive results available by the time of open enrollment next year.

Finally, in response to a question, Stuart observed that he began a new four-year term on UBAB in July 2010.

For the sake of accuracy and completeness, Stuart’s entire report is included as an addendum to these minutes.

  1. Gloria Main, CURFA representative on the Faculty Council Personnel Committee, had no report, but noted that issues related to non-tenure-track faculty have been discussed, and reports are forthcoming.
  2. Sandra Moriarty gave a report on the Carl Kisslinger Graduate Awards program. Two recipients were selected from the Health Sciences Center. They will both receive a $500 reward and will give presentations at the spring 2011 CURFA meeting. Sandra said that better coordination between the Anschutz and downtown campuses is needed in selecting awardees. The endowment fund presently stands at $52,320. Sandra’s goal is to increase the endowment to a level at which an award can be given on all three campuses every year.
  3. Oliver Ellsworth reported that the unanimous opposition of the CURFA Board to guns on campus was communicated to the Faculty Council – as the case goes to the Colorado Supreme Court. He noted that the transition to campus life for new faculty members has been complicated by delays in university contributions to benefits and health plans. At a recent dinner that Oliver attended, the discussion focused on decentralization of central administration functions and improved interaction among faculty organizations. He also reported that a recent study concluded that CU produced more degrees at a lower cost than any institution in the nation – a much better story to be sent to residents of the state. Finally, Oliver said that the recent 9.5% tuition increase approved by the Board of Regents was opposed by four Regents, who wanted a cap of 0%–4%.
  4. BFA representative (and member of the Executive Committee) David Kassoy made several announcements.
  • The matter of job security, contracts, and tenure for non-tenure-track faculty members is being discussed by the BFA. Currently, state law limits contracts to one year, although CU gives the contracts “with assurances.”
  • A provision to increase “faculty diversity” has been removed from the Regent’s guidelines.
  • Apart from special retention cases funded by set-aside money, there have been no faculty salary raises on the Boulder campus for two years.
  • Parking fees will increase on the Boulder campus, as parking has become an increasingly important cost center.
  • BFA is concerned about cessation of subscriptions at the Boulder libraries due to stretched budgets. Library Committee member Sandra Moriarty noted that the library system is projected to have a 15% budget cut.
  • Program discontinuance is likely in the near future due to budget constraints, with the reorganization of the School of Journalism a related issue.
  • Concern has been expressed about a new research misconduct policy that could result in allegations being revealed to funding agencies before the misconduct have been verified.

Frank Beer also spoke as a CURFA representative to the BFA. He noted that the current financial situation pits excellence against affordability. A possible $500 million shortfall requires careful planning of tuition increases and program priorities. He suggested that administrative costs should be part of any cost-savings plans, and that CURFA should take the lead in lobbying for administrative cuts.

  1. Richard Blade gave a report from the UCCS campus. He said that the local UCCS organization meets monthly in a restaurant and has semi-annual meetings funded by the campus. The $5 membership fee supports a scholarship fund for an annual award. For some faculty members, there may be a conflict between the UCCS and CURFA scholarship funds.
  2. Bill Marine reported that the Health Sciences Center retired faculty group meets four times per year. The November meeting will feature Dr. Robert Schrier speaking on the health of Abraham Lincoln. The University Hospital will soon begin an expansion without bonding or debt.
  3. Linda Dixon said that the downtown Denver retired faculty group will meet the following day to formulate plans. 
  4. Old business. Jim Wolf announced that Bill Weber, now well over 90 years of age, is back to his energetic self, although no progress has been made in renaming the herbarium.
  5. New business. The Nominating Committee nominated Richard Blade as the new Vice-President. No additional nominations were made. Richard was elected unanimously.

The Nominating Committee nominated Jim Jankowski as the new Secretary. No additional nominations were made. Jim was elected unanimously.

  1. The meeting was adjourned at 11:40 am.

October 20, 2010 Report From UBAB to CURFA

Stuart A. Schneck, M.D.

I have a number of items to share with you today but none of them are earth shaking.

My April report to this group about the new health care reform legislation covered all the changes that are scheduled to take place up to the year 2020. Since they are important, I will reiterate those changes that will take place this year and next. There are four items for this year, 2010. The income levels on which Part B premiums are based, presumably those from 2009, will be frozen until 2020. Since incomes for many people may well have dropped this year and possibly will continue lower in subsequent years as a result of the current recession, it seems likely that some people will be paying higher premiums for Medicare Part B in the next 10 years than if the premiums were pegged to their actual and changing annual income. Those who have Part D medication coverage will receive or have already received $250 from Medicare this year when they enter the so-called “doughnut hole.” Small rural hospitals will receive increased Medicare payments this year to bring them closer to payments to large hospitals. And finally for 2010, the government payments to insurers for Medicare Part C enrollees in the so-called Medicare Advantage plans will be frozen at 2010 levels and will gradually decrease in the future.

In 2011, traditional Medicare recipients can have free annual physical exams and there will be a waiver of cost-sharing for certain preventive services. Those with Part D medication coverage will get a 50% discount on brand name medications when in the “doughnut hole.” There will be increasing discounts over the years for generic drugs when in the “doughnut hole” until the hole finally ceases to exist in 2020.Those Part D recipients with high incomes, and I don’t know specifically what that level will be, will pay increased premiums for this medication benefit. Also in 2011, there will be a 10% Medicare bonus payment to primary care physicians and general surgeons.

There is no indication from this analysis that any of the CU health plans, including the Medicare Primary Plan that many of us have, will have any new deleterious tax consequences.

You may remember that we participated in a health insurance dependent verification project earlier this year. The result was that about 1,000 dependents or 5.7% were dropped from coverage. The estimated saving for CU is about $2 million which seems to have made the $150,000 cost worthwhile.

With regard to health insurance, the total cost to CU between 2006-2010 increased by 50.6% and was $89 million in our last fiscal year alone. With our new self -insurance plans, CU hopes to save about 3-7% annually in costs when compared to commercial plans. It is alleged that almost all employers of our size and almost all state governments self-insure for healthcare. A major advantage of self insurance is the ability to structure your plans to meet the needs of your employees and to include disease prevention and wellness programs.

The self- insurance plans started off a bit rocky in the first two weeks in July due to problems with mail order prescriptions and drug discounts but these have been straightened out and few complaints about anything are now heard. During open enrollment for this plan year, the Medicare Primary Plan, which most retirees have, gained 10 people for a total of 643, the Medicare Primary Plan + Lumenos which combines the Medicare Primary Plan for one person over and the Lumenos PPO Plan for one person under age 65 gained 11 people for a total of 86, and the AMP gained two people for a total of 380. All the Kaiser Plans have a combined total of 2,761 enrollees, the UA Net Plan for active employees and their families has 5,029, Lumenos, the PPO plan,  has 3,473 in it and the HMO Colorado Plan for those outside of Denver, Boulder and Colorado Springs has 693 people enrolled. Anthem was retained as the administrator of the plans but this position may be opened for bids by other companies in the future as we gain more experience with self-insurance and record more data about the use of medical services by our population. A 2% reserve for expected claims has been built into the premiums and it was decided not to purchase stop-loss insurance consistent with what most universities do. As you know, there was little or no increase in premiums for the retiree medical plans this year and only a very small increase in dental plan premiums. The AMP contribution by CU is still frozen while an administrative group, not UBAB, continues to consider what to do about this benefit.

A Trust Board has been set up to administer our self-insurance. There are five members – the CU Chief Financial Officer and the CU Head of Human Resources, the University Hospital Chief Financial Officer and their Vice President for Human Resources, and the Chief Financial Officer from University Physicians, Inc. The important issue of the relationship of UBAB to the Trust still has to be worked out.

Finally, there was a meeting last week to choose a vendor for a Health Risk Assessment contract to move towards a wellness program and disease prevention for employees, dependents and retirees. This process should be concluded shortly.

We should know more by the time of open enrollment next year as to just how well we fared during our first year of self-insurance since the debacle in 1998. All of us think and hope  that we have learned a thing or two from that experience.