Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
July 26, 1996

Details on new benefits program coming soon

by Johnny Pickett
A task force is putting the finishing touches on a new benefits program for faculty, professional and scientific staff, and supervisory staff.

Under the program, faculty and staff will design their own benefit plans by selecting from a variety of health, dental, life and long-term disability insurances and flexible spending options. Pension benefits will continue without change.

Officials currently are analyzing bids from vendors offering health and dental insurance. Vendors have been asked to provide a traditional indemnity health insurance program, an HMO (health maintenance organization) program, a program that combines aspects of both HMO and indemnity programs, and a catastrophic option (an indemnity plan with high deductibles).

Vendors also were asked to bid on the existing dental program as well as a program providing more extensive coverage. ISU officials are negotiating with Principal Mutual to provide expanded life and disability income insurance options.

Faculty and staff will enroll in their new plans during the first two weeks in November. In the coming months, employees will receive information to help familiarize them with options and prepare to make decisions on their benefits plans.

In August, they will begin receiving a series of bulletins, describing various aspects of the benefits plans. Enrollment information will be mailed to homes in late October. At that time, a series of on-campus workshops will begin to help those who want additional information and a Benefits Information Center will be available.

Information will be distributed to extension staff through the Iowa Communications Network and during extension's annual meeting in Ames.

An ISU task force began exploring ways to respond to rapid changes in the health care industry several months ago. Towers Perrin, a Minneapolis consulting firm that specializes in employee benefit plans, is assisting in the development of the new ISU benefits program.

If you have questions, contact the Benefits Office by e-mail ( or by phone, 4-7680.

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