INDIANAPOLIS – Ivy Tech Community College has saved more than $1.7 million this year in employee health benefits while keeping employee premium increases low.
Two very successful cost containment initiatives were launched this year including implementation of the working spouse rule saving $1.3 million annually by requiring spouses of employees, who have eligible health care coverage through their employer, enroll in their employer-based health care program. Ivy Tech employees may purchase secondary coverage for their spouse or may waive spousal coverage if preferred.
In addition, Ivy Tech contracted with a benefits management firm to conduct dependent eligibility confirmations focusing on verifying if dependents covered by Ivy Tech-sponsored health care plans are eligible for coverage. The project is estimated to save $400,000 annually and will be continued in the future as new employees enroll in health plans.
With healthcare savings available to offset future increases, Ivy Tech implemented very modest premium increases for college employees with a 2.5 percent increase in 2011 and a 2 percent increase in 2010. However, no increases were implemented in 2008 and 2009. This at a time when healthcare costs are up 15 percent nationally.
While keeping premiums low, Ivy Tech was able to introduce greater variety and new health plans for its employees. The college offers four tiers of coverage, including employee only, employee plus spouse, employee plus child(ren) and family, while many employers offer just two tiers. In addition, Ivy Tech offers three different health plans including the Select Plan offering a medium deductible, the Standard Plan offering a low deductible and the new Choice Plan offering a high deductible with a Health Savings Account.
The college is also taking advantage of the Early Retiree Reimbursement Program to obtain federal reimbursement for early retiree coverage, which will be used to decrease future cost increases.
The recent health plan savings add to the numerous cost savings and revenue enhancement initiatives implemented by Ivy Tech over the last three fiscal years, which have resulted in $24 million in total annual savings and $14.2 million in total one time savings to the college.
This savings greatly exceeds the College’s goal of saving $10 million by 2010, a goal that was set in 2007.
Many of the savings plans have been initiated in order to free up additional funds to add more full-time faculty, students services staff, and to serve its unprecedented enrollment increase. In addition to its growth, Ivy Tech expects to announce record graduation numbers next month.
The College has been able to accommodate the enrollment increase from the implementation of a number of cost savings measures and capitalizing on the efficiencies as one statewide community college system. It was also able to increase its number of classes offered, and the College is seeing its highest building utilization in history.
At the same time, the College has been able to keep tuition and student fees affordable. In fact, the cost differential to attend Ivy Tech as compared to all other Indiana public higher education institutions continues to grow.
Some of the cost-savings initiatives have included a statewide bookstore, the development of a centralized student communication and fulfillment center, implementation of phase I of a streamlined technology plan along with increased bond ratings and insurance plan savings. In addition the College has increased utilization of its facilities to record levels.
The college is pursuing several additional cost savings measures for future fiscal years including IT consolidation, program/course analysis, furniture standards and sourcing consolidation, exclusive beverage rights and expansion of the student communication/fulfillment center.
About Ivy Tech Community College
Ivy Tech is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.