Staff Assembly aims to lower insurance costs for employees

After reviewing the results of a recent survey, the Staff Assembly brainstormed ideas Tuesday to lower the cost of health insurance for employees and the university.The survey, which was conducted by several Staff Assembly representatives and other employees, focused on 116 staff members working in housekeeping and grounds maintenance.

Tara Perez, a horticulture assistant who presented the survey results to the Staff Assembly, said the survey targeted these staff members because there are concerns that some of them are unable to afford health insurance.

Those surveyed were asked if they have TCU health insurance, and if not, why?

Forty-eight percent of the staff members surveyed- said they do not have university health insurance, and nearly 60 percent of those staff members indicated they could not afford the insurance.

After the survey presentation, staff members were broken into focus groups to come up with ideas on how to reduce the cost of insurance. The ideas will be evaluated by the Staff Assembly policy committee.

“My hope is that later on we can send this list to the University Advisory Committee,” Perez told Staff Assembly members.

At one table, Valeria McDougle, a service facilities supervisor, said she would like to see a health center available for employees. Currently the Health Center is available only to students.

Staff members seated at another table suggested hiring a nurse practitioner to deal with minor problems, which could cut down on the cost of people going to the emergency room.

Mary Nell Kirk, an executive assistant to the chancellor, said she felt a health center for employees would be cost prohibitive but liked the idea of a nurse practitioner.

One suggestion was to award health insurance discounts to employees who rarely draw on their health benefits and are actively working to improve their health. Using the current pedometer challenge as an example, employees who walk more than 200,000 steps in one month could be eligible for insurance discounts.