CUCFA Concerns on UC Health Care

On November 21, CUCFA sent the following letter to UC President Janet Napolitano and also sent copies of the letter to half a dozen UC officers. President Napolitano responded with a letter dated January 8, 2014.

President Janet Napolitano
Office 12122 1111
Franklin Street
Oakland, CA 94607

Dear President Napolitano,

The recent changes to the health care insurance plans available to UC faculty and staff have resulted in a drastic reduction in both choices and quality of our insurance options. UC Care, the new “self-funded” PPO medical insurance plan that replaces Blue Cross Plus, Blue Cross PPO, and Anthem plans, does not provide equivalent coverage for campuses that do not have a medical center, such as UCR and UCSB. This leads to serious inequities between faculty and staff on those campuses with medical centers and faculty and staff on those campuses without them.

The UC Select (Tier 1) network of providers and facilities is grossly inadequate, for it excludes many of the best doctors and hospitals that were covered under the Blue Cross plans. As the Academic Council noted in its letter to you, employees on some campuses are suddenly losing in-plan access to their long-standing provider systems. Faculty who regularly travel for extended periods, those whose families face complex or chronic health challenges, and out-of-state emeriti and retirees are seeing significant degradation in the quality of insurance they are offered and anticipate significant increases in costs, if they seek the same quality of health care previously provided within the discontinued Anthem plans.

The employees of some UC campuses are facing discriminatory treatment that seriously degrades the quality of our individual lives and those of our families, as well as undermining the collective welfare of our campus communities. Health care options and other benefits have long been a strong incentive for working at the University of California, despite the fact that UC salaries have declined in relation to those at comparable institutions, but these benefits are being steadily eroded. The erosion of our benefits further undermines UC’s ability to compete for the best faculty and staff and maintain its first-class reputation.

In addition, we note that the process of developing the new plan was characterized by a lack of transparency and consultation with the Senate, inadequate notice of the changes, and insufficient resources given to HR units on the campuses to help and advise faculty and staff. The experience exposed the inadequacies of the consultation mechanisms for dealing with changes of this importance, scope, and complexity. We believe better, more inclusive mechanisms must be established.

We call on you to immediately implement an expanded set of UC Select options under UC Care so that all campuses have equal access to medical care. We demand that there be a full review of the process, a fund to compensate egregiously affected employees, and a better set of options for next year’s open enrollment.

On behalf of the CUCFA Board, Patricia Morton,
President, Council of UC Faculty Associations
Associate Professor and Chair, Art History Department, UC Riverside

cc: William Jacob, Academic Council Chair and Faculty Representative to the Board of Regents
J. Daniel Hare, Chair, University Committee on Faculty Welfare
William Parker, Chair, UC Healthcare Task Force
Peter J. Taylor, Chief Financial Officer, UCOP
Nathan Brostrom, Executive Vice President, Business Operations, UCOP
Dwaine Duckett, Vice President, Human Resources, UCOP