Document Sample

                                 DOCUMENTS OF THE GENERAL FACULTY

                               BENEFIT PROGRAM SURVEY 2001

Elizabeth Richmond-Garza (associate professor, English) submitted the following report on behalf of the
Faculty Welfare Committee. The committee will present the report to the Faculty Council at its meeting on
March 18, 2002.

John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty

                               BENEFIT PROGRAM SURVEY 2001

Purpose of Survey: To compare the relative satisfaction that all faculty, staff, and graduate assistants have with
their current UT health benefits.

The survey was designed to collect data from all categories of UT employees. Analysis of survey responses
provided insight into UT employees’ satisfaction with available health benefits, and their priorities for health plan
features. Satisfaction and priority data were compared across employee constituencies (faculty, staff, and graduate
students). The Faculty Welfare Committee would like to thank the thousands of UT faculty, staff, and graduates
assistants who responded. The substantial assistance received from the UT Office of the President’s, Associate VP
Kyle Cavanaugh and his Office of Human Resources colleagues, UT System official Dan Stewart, and particularly
the benefits project group of Professor Mark Alpert from his Special Projects in Marketing class, Marketing 372,
especially Mike Adams, Seth Hachmeister, Farhan Iftikhar, Kim Tills and Steven Fargo, are gratefully

Sample: There were 15,000 surveys distributed to UT employees through campus mail and website. A total of 5118
(34%) were completed, 2973 (58%) by hard copy and 2145 (42%) by website.

The sample included 3623 (71%) staff, 865 (17%) faculty, and 630 (12%) graduate student participants. The replies
from each constituency represent a response rate of 41.43% by the staff, 35.84 % by the faculty and 15.81% by the
graduate student participants. Other demographic data included gender, age, and health plan variables. The majority
of the sample were female (57.6%), homeowners (64.4%), and in the 30 to 49 year age range (49.6%). There were
29.5% in the 50 to 65 year age range, 2.3% over 65 years, and 18.6% under 30 years. Therefore, 31.8% of the
respondents represent the age group that traditionally has a much higher need for health care benefits.

Findings: At present, The University of Texas system offers two health care plan choices to employees. Employees
are enrolled in UT Select (52%) or Humana HMO (48%). The plans provide health care coverage to employees only
(60%), employees and spouses (13%), employees and families (14%), and employees and children (13%). Of the
optional benefits offered to employees, 77% have Dental benefits, 51% have Accidental Death and Dismemberment
benefits, 50% have Long-term Disability benefits, 50% have Vision benefits, and 17% have Long-term Care

Satisfaction with Health Plan & Optional Benefits
Satisfaction was measured with a scale of 1 (low satisfaction) to 3 (high satisfaction). The table below lists the mean
satisfaction scores by health plan. Keep in mind that only individuals who were enrolled in the optional health
benefits indicated their satisfaction with the benefit.

It is also worth mentioning that in spite of the downward bias of survey responses to benefits services, and the recent
changes in the UT plans, overall satisfaction scores were fairly good. The key is to use this as a baseline for
similarly-conducted surveys, to detect trends up or down.

                                     Humana HMO                            UT Select
 Question                           Respondents             Mean          Respondents         Mean
 Choice of plan                     2387                    2.22          2569                2.25
 Choice of providers                2372                    2.27          2551                2.34
 Provider location                  2347                    2.38          2487                2.46
 Prescription Drugs                 2294                    2.16          2451                2.28
 Dental benefit                     2072                    2.24          2082                2.29
 Vision benefit                     1477                    2.34          1432                2.35
 Long-term Disability               1291                    2.27          1158                2.32
 Personal Accident                  1363                    2.29          1158                2.34
 Employee Life                      1662                    2.34          1490                2.37
 Dependent Life                     969                     2.27          638                 2.27
 Long-term Care                     650                     2.17          623                 2.23

In general, the plans were rated similarity in satisfaction scores.

Satisfaction with Optional Benefits by Employee Category
The table below lists the mean satisfaction scores for each of the optional benefits and sorted by employee

                                   Faculty                   Staff                    Graduate Student
 Optional benefit                    N          Mean           N         Mean           N         Mean
  Dental benefit                   709         2.26          3065        2.25         386        2.36
  Vision benefit                   483         2.39          2163        2.33         269        2.35
  Long-term Disability             450         2.32          1902        2.30         108        2.20
  Personal Accident                400         2.32          1990        2.32         144        2.27
  Employee Life                    541         2.40          2433        2.35         541        2.30
  Dependent Life                   274         2.28          1267        2.27         71         2.30
  Long-term Care                   246         2.22          959         2.20         67         2.22

Ranking of Possible Health Plan Features
Eight features were identified by the committee in consultation with the Office of Human Resources. Respondents
were asked to prioritize the eight features by indicating a ranking of highest (1) to lowest (8) priority. The table
below is the overall ranking of the eight features for the entire sample.

  Rank       Feature                                                                          Mean
   1         Keep out-of-pocket costs low                                                     3.13
   2         Keep the prescription co-pay as low as possible                                  3.66
   3         Maintain the lowest possible employee premium contribution                       4.01
   4         Keep preventive care (physical exams, immunizations) out-of-pocket costs         4.26
             as low as possible
    5        Keep the deductible as low as possible                                           4.36
    6        Keep in-patient (hospitalization) out-of-pocket costs as low as possible         4.70
    7        Do not add a lifetime maximum in the health care plan (current plan does         5.67
             not have one)
    8        Increase the number of physicians available to me                                5.85

Ranking of Possible Health Plan Features by Employee Category
The ranking data was sorted by employee category and is provided in the table below.

                                      Faculty                   Staff                  Graduate Student
    Feature                           Rank         Mean         Rank        Mean       Rank        Mean
    Low out-of-pocket costs            1           3.54           1         3.05        1          2.92
    Low prescription co-pay            2           4.07           2         3.55        2          3.60
    Lowest employee premium            3           4.12           3         3.87        5          4.42
    Low preventive care out-of-         4          4.32           4         4.29         3          3.88
    pocket costs
    Lowest deductible                   7          4.49           5         4.39         4          3.93
    Low in-patient costs                5          4.46           6         4.72         6          4.73
    No lifetime max                     6          4.48           7         5.76         8          6.46
    Increase physicians available       8          5.51           8         5.90         7          5.66

There is little difference between the ranked priorities of faculty, staff, and graduate assistants. Differences in
mean scores did occur, and should be evaluated to discern that graduate assistant and staff preferences to keep
costs as low as possible seemed greater, on an absolute scale than that of the faculty.1

Exploratory Question
An exploratory question was included in the survey: If the UT System were allowed to offer Domestic Partner
Benefits, would employees favor it? Overwhelmingly, the employees (n = 4836 responded to question) support
this benefit with 75% responding "yes" or "definitely yes."


      •    The University of Texas at Austin, Faculty Welfare Committee should use the information that is
           provided in this report to assist them in finding a health plan that is satisfactory to all UT employees.

      •    The overall ranking of health plan features should be used to guide decision-making during
           negotiations with health care providers. The overall rankings are as follows:
               1) Keep out-of-pocket costs low
               2) Keep the prescription co-pay as low as possible
               3) Maintain the lowest possible employee premium contributions
               4) Keep preventive care (physical exams/immunizations) out-of-pocket costs as low as possible
               5) Keep the deductible as low as possible
               6) Keep in-patient (hospitalization) out-of-pocket costs as low as possible
               7) Do not add a lifetime maximum in the health care plan (current plan does not have one)
               8) Increase the number of physicians available to me

      •    Try to avoid switching health plans every year. Once a health plan is selected it should be continued.

      •    There are many employees that do not fully understand the current health plan that they are enrolled in.
           Providing better information or informational meetings would improve the knowledge of each health
           plan and could create a more positive attitude towards the benefits of each plan.

      •    Long-Term care has the lowest level of satisfaction. An improvement in this category would improve
           the overall satisfaction of the employees.

      •    Everyone has different attitudes towards health plans. There are many employees who are dissatisfied
           because the two current health plans do not cover what they are interested in. If it is possible The
           University of Texas should provide additional health plans from which employees may choose. The

    Paragraph added on March 6, 2002.

        plans selected should address different preferences regarding the trade-off between the cost to
        employee and the flexibility and physician selection provided by the plan.

    •   Satisfaction surveys should be conducted on an annual basis in the future to evaluate satisfaction and to
        obtain employee input into desired health benefits. We recommend that a statistical sample be used for
        efficiency in future surveys. The last benefits survey was conducted in 1993 and cannot serve as a
        good basis for comparison with the 2001 survey.

    •   The Committee recommends the addition of exploratory questions pertaining to Mental Health Care
        coverage to determine employee satisfaction with this feature of the health plans.

    •   When the Health Plans remain the same from one year to the next, future surveys should include
        questions about problems with the health plans and evaluate how well plan administrators have
        responded to the problems.

This report was posted on the Faculty Council web site ( on March 5,
2002. Paper copies are available on request from the Office of the General Faculty, FAC 22, F9500.