Health Benefits Review

Benefits Review Announcement on November 16, 2017

Health Benefits Review survey results published November 6, 2018. 

Recommendations to be reviewed by shared governance published March 7, 2019


The most recent review of the UI health benefits structure for faculty and staff was conducted in 2009-2010. Since then, a number of changes have occurred in the health care industry and in federal legislation. Within the UI environment, the most recent change is the transition of AFSCME covered Merit staff to UI self-funded health plans. Given these factors, University Human Resources (UHR) is leading a review of health plans.

The review focuses on developing the university's benefits philosophy, guiding principles, and a plan design that provides high-quality benefits to support recruitment and retention of faculty and staff and is financially sustainable for the institution.

Review Process and Recommendations

UHR formed a stakeholder advisory committee in November 2017 and conducted monthly meetings to consider and discuss information related to university health and dental benefits. In early spring 2019, the advisory committee drafted recommendations concerning the university's health benefit design.

In composing these recommendations, the advisory committee consulted the Funded Retirement and Insurance Committee (FRIC), a faculty/staff survey, and market data and actuarial analysis provided through expert consultation.

The advisory committee's recommendations include expanding health plan options so that employees may choose the best plan for their individual and family needs. The recommendations also include adjusting cost-share in the current UI plans for employee only and double spouse family while maintaining a free option for these groups in a new plan. Lastly, the recommendations ask the university to pursue greater financial efficiency and ensure access to health care providers.

UHR will present these recommendations for feedback to Staff Council and Faculty Senate in spring 2019. New university health plans require approval from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. Any changes resulting from these recommendations would go into effect in 2020.

Read more about the committee's recommendations in this announcement.

Faculty and Staff Survey

Faculty and staff who were eligible for university health benefits were invited to provide feedback on their satisfaction with and preferences regarding health benefit offerings. University Human Resources conducted the survey via email in fall 2018 from September 5 through 19 using Qualtrics.

Survey results guided the review's stakeholder advisory committee as it developed recommendations about university health benefit offerings.

For more information, read the summary of results

Questions about the survey should be directed to

Stakeholder Advisory Committee Membership:

Joni Troester
Committee Chair, Assistant Vice President for Total Rewards, University Human Resources

Cheryl Reardon
Chief Human Resources Officer, University Human Resources

Rebecca Olson
Director of Benefits, University Human Resources

Susan Klatt
Director Financial Management and Budget and University Secretary

Jon Garfinkel
Funded Retirement and Insurance Committee, co-chair for faculty, Professor of Finance, Tippie College of Business

Nancy Davin
Funded Retirement and Insurance Committee, co-chair for staff

Katherine Tachau
Funded Retirement and Insurance Committee, faculty member, Professor of History, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Michael Schueller
Funded Retirement and Insurance Committee, staff member,
Assistant Director of Environmental Operations, State Hygienic Laboratory

Carroll Reasoner
Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel

Jana Wessels
Associate Vice President for Human Resources, UI Health Care

Doug Van Daele
Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs, UI Physician Group, UI Health Care

Daniel Fick
Campus Health Officer

Julie Hostager
Support Staff, Office of Student Financial Aid, Merit staff member

Quintin Bryant
Clerk IV, Engineering Services, UI Health Care, Merit Staff Member

Barbara Van Gorp
Clinical Specialist, Rehabilitation Therapies, UI Health Care, SEIU staff member

Advisory Group Support
Cristóbal McKinney
Office of Strategic Communications

Cheri Smith
University Human Resources


Health benefit structures are complex and must consider many factors, including the population being insured, utilization patterns of that population, compliance requirements, and legal aspects. To assist with the review process, the university will be working with the human resources consulting firm Aon, which will provide expert third-party analysis of the university’s health benefit structure and plan design.

Aon will provide actuarial review, collect peer benchmarking comparison data, and assure compliance with all required regulations relative to review and recommendations. These recommendations will align with the benefit philosophy, and the guiding principles provided by the advisory committee. The university has previously worked with the firm on projects related to benefits administration.

General Timeline*

November 2017 Initiate Review
Spring 2018 Develop survey and review benchmarking 
Summer 2018 Review actuarial models
September 5 - 19, 2018  Conduct faculty / staff survey
Spring 2019 Discuss and submit final recommendations
Fall 2019 Any changes to benefits implemented for open enrollment

If recommendations call for change, the earliest implementation would be plan year 2020.
* This timeline was updated March 7, 2019. 

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