Higher Ed Health Care Benefit Costs Increased 7% in 2010

September 24, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources has found the median total premium health care costs for higher education institutions increased around 7% over last year.

For the 424 institutions completing CUPA-HR’s Comprehensive Survey of College and University Benefits Programs, the median total premium costs for the three most common plan types (PPO, HMO and POS) increased 6.7% for employee-only coverage and 7% for family coverage, compared to 3.7% and 5.7%, respectively, last year. Employee premiums were particularly greater this year than last for family coverage ($15,248 this year compared to $13,996 in 2009).   

As with other employers, higher education institutions are using cost sharing to control health care costs. A press release said for some plans, the median annual deductible went up, as did the out-of-pocket maximum, while in- and out-of-network coinsurance percentages went down. The percentage of institutions paying the entire monthly premium for family coverage continues to decrease.   

In addition, 31% of responding institutions conducted an audit in the last year of dependents enrolled in their benefits program.  

The survey also found consumer-driven health plans are now offered by 21% of this year’s respondents (up from just 11% two years ago). A majority of responding institutions continue to provide health care benefits for retirees, and the percentage of responding institutions offering health care benefits for both same sex and opposite sex partners increased this year, as it has for the past four years. 

Other findings of CUPA-HR’s 2010 Comprehensive Survey of College and University Benefits Programs included: 

  • Almost all responding institutions provide basic life insurance, long-term disability, paid time off, tuition assistance and retirement benefits; 
  • 64% of responding institutions offer short-term disability and the majority requires the employee to pay the entire premium; and 
  • The median number of paid holidays each year is 12, as is the median number of sick days. 


To access the survey fact sheet or to purchase survey results, visit http://www.cupahr.org/surveys/results.asp.