With compensation and benefits comprising 60% of Salve Regina University’s budget, Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, William Hall is always evaluating ways to keep costs in check while continuing to attract and retain top-notch faculty and staff. In the late 1990s he moved the health insurance benefits from an insured to a self-insured program where the university takes the responsibility for paying medical claims plus stop-loss to protect against high-cost claims. This approach creates the lowest possible administrative costs and means that the employer isn’t paying profits on top of claims. This was a bold move, especially at the time, as some small colleges and universities worry about the higher risk of a self-insured arrangement.
“We were already self-insured and had been pleased with that decision,” said Mr. Hall. “However, healthcare costs were still having a negative impact on Salve Regina’s bottom line, so we were seeking a solution to the rising cost conundrum.” Salve Regina University became aware of edHEALTH through the Boston Consortium, which fosters collaboration between higher education institutions. The school had a positive experience with the organization’s Risk Management Group, and began to explore how banding together with other higher education institutions might make sense for their healthcare program.
A disruption analysis found that by moving to edHEALTH, Salve Regina would:
- Save money on faculty and staff healthcare costs;
- Pose minimal benefit design disruptions; and
- Maintain employees’ access to their doctors and hospitals.
Salve Regina University joined edHEALTH effective January 1, 2016. The corresponding results have been outstanding.
- 18% reduction in administrative rates
- 5% decrease in stop-loss rates
- Savings enabled university to provide one month of free employee healthcare premiums
- Four-year cumulative healthcare rate increase of 10.8%, markedly better than the industry average of 31.1%
“The money Salve Regina has saved on healthcare costs through edHEALTH has been greatly beneficial to our bottom line,” said Mr. Hall. “Through the edHEALTH model, we work directly with plan administrators to offer attractive benefits, a broad provider network, and comprehensive coverage to our faculty and staff.”
Employee Satisfaction and Valuable HR Support
Employees have been satisfied with their benefits, and the HR staff has welcomed the collaboration benefits of edHEALTH. “Overall, our employees are happy with their healthcare plan design options,” Claudia Cavallaro, Associate Director for HR and Benefits. “It’s a pleasure to work with the entire edHEALTH staff who are knowledgeable, friendly and responsive!” Upon the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, edHEALTH implemented frequent virtual meetings to help schools share ideas and learn from one another. “Sharing information and best practices to navigate during these uncertain times has been especially valuable,” said Nancy Escher, Director of Human Resources.