Governors approve bids on insurance providers

T.J. Gerlach

Faculty and staff of Missouri Southern can breathe a bit easier after the Board of Governor’s Aug. 27 meeting.

The Board approved the recommended bids for the new insurance providers for the University.

“Employees should be excited about [the providers],” said Dwight Douglas, Board president. “We’ll do better than we did before.”

For medical insurance, the Board approved the bid from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Missouri.

“Basically they (Blue Cross Blue Shield) have bent over backward to match all unique aspects of our plans,” said Debbie Dutch Kelley, director of human resources and insurance committee chair. “They want our business.”

The plan will be a Freeman Hospital based plan with 80 percent coverage in network and 60 percent

covered out of network.

Delta Dental of Missouri was accepted as for dental coverage. Dutch Kelley said Delta Dental matched Southern’s current plan and rates and no change will occur from the current plans.

The committee received three bids for vision coverage, but Superior was the only company to quote both a low and high option. The Board approved the bid, which has a two-year rate guarantee and extends coverage to all Wal-Mart optical, Lenscrafters, Pearle Vision and JCPenney optical outlets.

Cigna’s bid for life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment and long-term disability was accepted. Cigna offered a three-year rate guarantee and a lower premium for retirees. The Taben Group was also approved for COBRA Administration.

No bids were received for long-term care, but the committee spoke with the current provider, and it was agreed that after coverage ends, Southern employees will be able to pay directly instead of having a payroll deduction.

“The benefits committee has been working hard,” said Dr. Terri Agee, vice president for business affairs.

Also during the meeting:

*University President Julio León said the higher education community is trying to converse with the gubernatorial candidates about their plans for higher education in the state of Missouri.

*Lee Pound, director of the Alumni Association, said the association wants to be more involved with academics. She informed the Board of the Association’s plans for future growth.

*Pound also announced the theme for Homecoming. It will be “Discover the Treasures of Southern,” a pirate theme. She said 10 faculty members will participate in a dress-up contest with a penny vote. The winner will wear a pirate outfit the Friday of Homecoming week.

*Curt Betebenner, director of the Missouri Southern Foundation, gave the Board an overview of the Foundation’s Capital Campaign, which should raise $7.6 million by June 30, 2005.

*Dr. Richard McCallum attended his first formal Board meeting. McCallum reported on the progress of graduate programs a Southern. He said the first program is already in place and two more programs are still in discussion, one with Southwest Missouri State University and the other with the University of Missouri-Kansas City.