Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Sept. 6, 1996

Senate gets preview of benefits

by Linda Charles
The Faculty Senate received a preview of a proposed new benefits plan during its Sept. 3 meeting.

Mark Power, chair of the Annuities and Insurance Committee, outlined the benefits proposal, but noted the proposal must be approved by his committee and the administration before it can become final.

The proposal calls for a "cafeteria-style" benefits program, Power said, with faculty and staff designing benefits packages that fit their needs.

The proposal includes four health care options -- an indemnity plan that is identical to Principal's PAT 1000 plan, an HMO that is identical to the one currently offered, a POS (point of service) plan and catastrophic coverage.

The POS is similar to an HMO in that the client has a primary care physician and receives medical care through a network of doctors. Where it differs from an HMO, he said, is that the client has the option to go outside the medical network and still be covered, although the reimbursement rate will be less.

The catastrophic insurance option is aimed at those who desire coverage for major illnesses, but intend to pick up more of the costs of routine medical needs.

The benefits proposal also features identical and new options for dental care, life insurance and long-term disability coverage, Power said.

There will be four coverage rate options under the new plan - - individual, the employee and a spouse, the employee and children, and family.

Under the proposal, employees will be allotted a certain number of credits to spend on benefits. Unused credits will be deposited in flex-type spending accounts that can be used for medical or child care expenses. Faculty and staff can purchase additional coverage by paying for it themselves, Power said.

A decision on the proposal should come soon, said Power, who also unveiled the proposal to the P&S Council Sept. 5.

In other business:

  • Denise Vrchota updated the senate on the status of about 40 continuing adjunct appointments. The adjuncts can be terminated only "for cause," a tenure-like situation. However, their employment conditions are determined at the department level. In some departments, adjuncts are treated like other faculty, serving on committees, etc. In other departments, they are treated like temporary faculty.

    The continuing adjuncts are asking for a consistent and university-wide policy regarding their professional rights, opportunities and obligations.

  • Olivia Madison, chair of the Committee to Review ISU Promotion & Tenure Criteria and Procedures, said the committee hopes to submit a preliminary report to the senate and provost by March. The committee currently is dividing into discussion groups on various identified topics.

    The next meeting of the senate begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1, in 260 Scheman.

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