June 25, 2008

Dear Colleagues:
Since my last note in March, the University implemented a number of changes to compensation and benefits that may have affected you and your family. This note will provide an update and address changes related to our 2009 health care plans.

Staff Compensation Redesign Project
The new staff compensation redesign project was implemented for most employees on June 1st. Implementation for research employees will take place over the summer.

The new compensation structure is designed to ensure fairness and consistency throughout our growing operations. It is part of a larger effort to attract and retain top talent. Please visit the Human Resources Web site for additional information about this project.

Green Public Transportation Program
The University also launched its new green Public Transportation Program, which provides free or discounted passes for buses and Metrorail/Tri-Rail. I am pleased to report that 2,785 faculty and staff are participating, which represents an increase of 1,494 (116 percent).

With the price of gas continuing to rise and ever-increasing time spent commuting, this innovative program helps each of us adapt to the changing times. To learn more, click here.

Wellness Initiatives
We’ve also focused on enhancing our wellness programs. New initiatives for 2008 include a Health Fair, Weight Watchers at Work, the Cardiovascular Wellness Program, ongoing Lunch and Learn Information Sessions, and more. Since January, we’ve conducted more than 45 Lunch and Learn sessions covering topics ranging from skin cancer awareness to understanding your health care plan.

We continue to strive to become a truly “healthy” workplace—it’s the most effective way to control health care costs and benefit employees’ well-being. I invite you to participate in an anonymous online wellness engagement survey that will remain open until Friday, July 18. Feedback from the survey will be used to develop future wellness programs. To access the survey, click here.

2009 Health Care Update
Effective January 1, 2009, the University will change health care providers from Humana to Aetna. Changing insurers is an important decision. This decision is the result of a six-month process that included a thorough review of services provided by Humana and several other health care insurers that responded to the University’s request for proposal.

Humana has been our health plan administrator since 2005. In many respects, they have been a responsive partner, working with us on wellness and other initiatives. They struggled this year with new systems that adversely affected claim processing and filling prescriptions through mail-order service.

The Health Care Task Force and Aon Consulting, the University’s health care consultant, conducted an extensive review of proposals that were submitted by several of the country's leading insurers. The Employee Benefits Advisory Council also assisted with this process. After evaluating the proposals on a variety of measures—particularly customer service, provider network disruption (i.e., the inclusion of current in-network physicians in their network), and cost—we determined that Aetna had the most complete offering for University of Miami faculty, staff, and dependents. Their proposal promised and our extensive reference checking confirmed that Aetna could deliver enhanced capabilities in customer service, claims payment, disease management, and wellness programs.

Aetna’s networks include almost all of the physicians who currently participate with Humana. It includes all UMMG providers. Aetna also has a national HMO network that will help those of you with children who attend school outside South Florida. At this time, you may go to www.aetna.com to see if your current physician is an Aetna in-network provider. The new HMO network will be “Aetna Select(SM) (Open Access),” and the new PPO network will be “Aetna Choice POSII (Open Access).” For directions on how to locate an Aetna physician, click here. If your physician is not currently in the Aetna network, please complete the Aetna Provider Nomination form located at www.miami.edu/benefits. Aetna will contact the provider and try to add them to the network.

During the next few weeks, the University will work on plan designs (premiums and co-pays) for 2009. All plans will continue to be open access; that is, appointments with specialists will not require prior approval from a primary care physician.

We will provide detailed information in early September for 2009 Open Enrollment, which will take place October 20 through November 7, 2008. You will have many opportunities to learn about the 2009 plans via group information sessions, benefits fairs, and other communications. Please view “An Introduction to Aetna Health Care for 2009” to familiarize yourself with Aetna’s tools and wellness programs.  In addition, please view the “Frequently Asked Questions” on the change to Aetna health care for 2009.

UMatter More! Employee Discount Program
I am also pleased to announce UMatter More!, a new UM employee discount program. As a University of Miami employee, you qualify for discounts at retail outlets such as Office Max, Apple, and Grainger. In addition, employees may receive savings on hotels and rental car bookings and discounts at the Wellness Centers. To learn more, click here. In the months to come, we will work to expand the discount program as another way of enhancing UM benefits.

Thank you for your interest in these important matters; we continue to strive to make the University the best possible workplace for all faculty and staff. As always, your feedback is important. If you have comments or suggestions, please email me at umbenefits@miami.edu.


Joe Natoli
Senior Vice President for Business and Finance
and Chief Financial Officer

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