7 Things to Know About Proposed Faculty & Staff Healthcare Cuts

(1) It was just three years ago that Fordham’s faculty made major concessions on health insurance benefits — economizing by giving up benefits, accepting stepped increases to our premium costs, and consolidating all coverage with one insurance carrier. These healthcare benefits, agreed upon in that historic 2014 negotiation, are part of a standing statutory agreement.

(2) Despite these major and on-going benefit givebacks, the Administration is demanding even greater reductions in healthcare benefits. Since the start of our 2016 salary negotiations in September Fordham’s CFO has insisted that any salary deal be contingent on dramatic cuts to health benefits, stating that there will be no funds allocated for salary increases unless the faculty agrees to substantial cuts to their health insurance coverage.

(3) The Administration claims that the cost of faculty health insurance has grown dramatically and unreasonably over recent years, when, in fact the cost to the University, per faculty subscriber, has barely increased: in 2010-2011 the average cost per faculty member was $21,340 and, in 2016-17, it is $22,722. When adjusted for inflation, the cost of faculty health insurance has actually dropped.

(4) The proposed cuts to faculty and staff health insurance coverage—to be achieved by moving all subscribers to a lower value plan—will save the Administration about $7 million dollars annually, and most of these costs will be transferred to faculty and staff.

(5) Faculty and staff subscribers (except those who are very low users of health care) will see their health costs rise by thousands of dollars, and, in some cases, by well over $10,000 for just the first year.

(6) The Administration’s plan will greatly increase costs for both in-network and out-of-network services. Co-pays, deductibles, and maximum out-of-pocket caps would rise dramatically, more than doubling in almost all cases, with additional costs incurred by other factors, such as new in-network co-insurance fees. For example:

  • In-network member costs for a routine hospital birth would jump from a $10 co-pay to $1,769 — due to new 10% co-insurance cost to members even when their providers are all in-network.
  • Out-of-network, the cost of a routine in-hospital childbirth would rise from $2,328 to $3,402. The repair of a navel hernia would increase from $4,104 to $6,156.
  • The reimbursement rate for out-of-network mental health care (1-hour session) will drop from $300 to $175 — a $125 increase for each appointment. And these are just a few examples of the enormous increases in healthcare costs that faculty and staff will face under Fordham’s proposed healthcare cuts.

(7) In recent negotiations, the Administration threatened that if the faculty do not agree to accept devastating cuts to their health care benefits that the Board will impose these cuts—or something even worse. In short, the Administration has made it known that they are willing to violate the University’s Statutes and faculty contracts, just as they did last year.

This shortsighted approach is wrong for Fordham in every way. Consider the University President’s “50 by 20 Plan” – the goal of launching Fordham into the top 50 “Best Colleges” listing US News and World Report by 2020. Even this ambition is threatened by the one-dimensional planning; cutting compensation will affect Fordham in the rankings. The proposed reduction in our health benefits will result in a decline in reported average total compensation by as much as 3.3% and a corresponding drop in the rankings equivalent to an approximately 36-point drop in SAT scores.

These cuts are inconsistent with the values espoused by a Jesuit University committed to social justice and the principle of cura personalis, the care of the person, the care of each other. That’s why Fordham’s faculty, staff, and students have come together to say no to Fordham’s proposed healthcare cuts. They’re saying No to FordhamCare.

To download a printable pdf with this information, click here.