UVA Insurance Change Costing City and County Taxpayers Thousands - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVA Insurance Change Costing City and County Taxpayers Thousands

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The University of Virginia’s decision to drop spouses of employees from health insurance coverage is costing taxpayers in Charlottesville and Albemarle County hundreds of thousands of dollars. The university's money-saving plan is costing those public payrolls at least $835,000.

On January 1, UVA dropped employee spouses to cut costs from increasing medical claims and the Affordable Care Act. Taxpayers in Charlottesville and Albemarle County are feeling the insurance impact.

The county added 70 government and school employees to its insurance rolls, which is expected to cost at least $360,000 a year. The city is now paying for 29 employees who came off the UVA plan, which will cost the city an additional $300,000. Charlottesville schools enrolled 35 UVA spouses for insurance, at an impact of more than $175,000 a year.

Ed Gillaspie, the director of finance for Charlottesville City Schools stated, “It puts the other employers in a position to do the same kind of action as a defensive measure which then takes the spouses on your plan and says "now, you're not eligible for coverage" and it sets off this chain reaction.”

Charlottesville schools are waiting to see if other big employers, including the city and county, change their insurance policies for covering employee spouses.

The university issued a statement in response to these costs to the city and county:

"The University made several enhancements in the past year to its health plans in an effort to maintain competitive benefits and increase options, improve and expand wellness efforts, and also address rising costs.

In addition to the spouse provision, the University has provided employees a path to achieve better wellness and avoid premium increases through the Hoo’s Well program, added a new “Health Savings Account” option, and is rewarding employees for living a tobacco-free lifestyle.

UVA is the only state agency that independently operates a health plan for its employees. In years past, the University has been able to offer competitive benefits at premiums that are less expensive than the state average. To continue to do so requires adjustments, and our recent changes have reflected the need to address significant cost increases associated with increasing medical claims generally, an increase in the number and cost of “high dollar” claims, and costs associated with implementation of the Affordable Care Act."

-McGregor McCance, UVA Spokesman

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