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MONEY
February 4, 2005

Updates on employee benefit orientationPrices for health and life insurance in 2005 can be viewed on Powerpoint training materials used for WSU Employee Benefit Orientation at http://www.wsu.edu/benefits. Click on Hot Topics, then Employee Benefits Orientation.Orientation sessions in Pullman are planned 1-4 p.m. Feb. 9 and 24 in Lighty 405. Future dates can be found at the above website under Training. Copies of a taped orientation presentation are available at the Pullman Benefits office or from Karen Erp in Spokane, Tami Kelley at the Spokane Nursing location, Julie Nelson in Tri-Cities and Angie Currie in Vancouver.FSA refunds must be requestedFlexible spending account claim forms with … » More …

Risky business keeps Fadness busy
February 4, 2005

Rick Fadness has learned that anything can be risky, even the actions of a tree squirrel.Fadness, risk management and insurance coordinator for Washington State University’s Risk Management and Insurance Department, has the unique job of overseeing insurance for most of the university, in addition to helping university employees assess risks of activities they may engage in.Approximately $2.5 million in insurance premiums were processed through his office last year. Usually the cost is borne by the department requiring coverage.In the more than three years Fadness has held his position, he has encountered insurance claims of all kinds.A woman who left the window open to her room … » More …

Opportunity to change insurance coverage begins
October 17, 2003

Open enrollment, allowing WSU employees to changes medical and dental insurance plans, will go from Oct. 20 to Nov. 30. Eligible family members not previously covered may be enrolled during this time too. Changes take effect Jan. 1, 2004.A PEBB Perspective newsletter will be mailed to each employee’s home address in the next week. It will include information on changes in coverage, premium rates for 2004 and which plans will be available. Employees will not receive a 2004 Open Enrollment booklet in the mail. Rather, to make changes in plans, employees are encouraged to go to the Washington State Health Care Authority’s website at » More …

Insurance rates up $5 to $7 a month; Premera dropped
August 22, 2003

In a time of generally escalating health-care and insurance costs, there is some good news for those participating in WSU’s health benefits plan.For instance, office co-pays will remain at $10 and lifetime maximum benefits will double from $1 million to $2 million.The flip side is that Premera will be dropped as a provider because employee costs would have been too high.“That’s by far the biggest news for us,” said WSU Payroll Director Alice Smethurst.She said 767 WSU employees subscribe to Premera. “With their dependents, it’s really a loss of more than 1,000 people who will have to rethink what plan they will go to,” she … » More …

Pretaxing cuts insurance costs; state pays $482
November 15, 2002

Pretaxing cuts insurance costs; state pays $482Yes, insurance rate increases are coming, but you can reduce your total out-of-pocket costs by making sure your premiums are deducted in a pretax manner and by shopping the insurance programs wisely.The bottom line is, don’t put off reviewing the insurance plan changes that will affect both your coverage and premiums beginning Jan. 1. You can make comparisons with the help of booklets provided by the Public Employees Benefit Board, or by visiting its website at www.wa.gov/hca/pebb.htm. The deadline to make your decision is Nov. 30. If you don’t make a choice, you will remain under your current insurance … » More …

Health insurance hikes hit paychecks Jan. 1
November 1, 2002

Brace yourself and your personal budget. Major increases in your medical and dental insurance premiums will take effect in exactly 60 days, which means your net take-home pay will shrink beginning Jan. 10. Why? There are two reasons. First, due to a downturn in the economy, the state is facing a $2 billion economic deficit and has to make cuts to balance the budget. Second, medical/dental costs nationally have “skyrocketed,” according to Washington’s Health Care Authority, with increases up to 30 percent in some states. The brunt of that increase is said to be due to increased use and cost of pharmaceuticals. HCA has reported … » More …

What keeps insurance CEOs awake at night?
October 8, 2002

Robert P. Hartwig, senior vice president and chief economist for the Insurance Information Institute, will answer “What Keeps Insurance CEOs Awake at Night?” at Washington State University#s 2002 Walton Lecturer, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, in Todd Hall, Room 276.Hartwig, a renowned scholar on property/casualty insurance, frequently appears as a television commentator on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN and CNBC. He has published articles on insurance issues and has been quoted in “The Wall Street Journal,” “The New York Times,” “The Washington Post,” “Business Week,” “Forbes” and “The Economist.”The lecture kicks off the fall advisory board meeting for the Risk Management and Insurance Program, part … » More …