College and University Health Care Costs Increasing

August 21, 2012 ( - Findings from CUPA-HR’s 2012 Comprehensive Survey of College and University Benefits Programs show that health care costs are still rising.

For the 354 institutions completing this year’s College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) survey, the median total premium costs for the three most common healthcare plan types (PPO, HMO and POS) increased 6.7% for employee-only coverage and 6.0% for employee + family coverage. Comparable increases last year were 7.3% for both types of coverage.   

Median annual plan premiums increased to $6,396 for employee-only coverage and to $16,840 for employee + family coverage. The percentage increases in costs are less this year than in the preceding two years.  

Among other findings:  

  • almost all responding institutions provide basic life insurance, long-term disability, paid time off, tuition assistance and retirement benefits;  
  • about a quarter of responding institutions provide child daycare, but most do not subsidize the costs (even fewer provide sick-child daycare);  
  • the median number of paid holiday days each year is 12 as is the median number of sick days (only a small percentage of respondents have a formal PTO plan combining vacation/sick leave and other benefits, and the median number of vacation days varies by employee category);  
  • 40% of respondents indicated that they pay the difference in salary for employees on military leave (and only for a short period of time);  
  • one-quarter of respondents have paid leave for a new parent over and above vacation and sick leave; 
  • almost all responding institutions (96%) provide tuition benefits for courses taken by full-time employees at their own institution (percentages are lower for spouses and children); and 
  • a majority of respondents utilize a 403(b) defined contribution plan for retirement benefits.