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Survey: Hike in Health Care Costs for Higher Education

University Business, Nov 2006

Good benefits are part of any attractive employee package, but they are getting harder to provide. (See "Human Resources" column, page 27.) The College & University Professional Association for Human Resources has issued its fourth annual survey of member organizations and the top-line findings show that health care benefits are costing more for colleges and universities. A full 81 percent of respondents report that health-care and dental costs have gone up. The median increase in costs is 9 percent. Eleven percent of respondents reported that they are providing fewer benefits to employees since the last survey was completed.

This year's respondents indicate that Consumer Driven Health Care plans are gaining in popularity, notes Ray Sizemore, CUPA-HR's director of research and information systems. Such plans, which include Health Savings Accounts, emphasize lower monthly employee contributions for health care, but higher deductibles. Currently, 10.4 percent of the public universities surveyed have CDHC plans in place, which is double the number of private colleges and universities.

This year's survey covers 537 public and private colleges and universities. The average budget for the institutions surveyed is $239 million. The average number of undergraduate students is 6,674; the average number of graduate students is 1,368. The average number of full-time faculty members is 293. In all, the median cost per employee for medical and dental coverage is $5,652.

The full report also covers retirement benefits, domestic partner benefits, and other costs. See www.cupahr.org/surveys/benefits2005-06.htm. -J.M.A.

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