Dear Monterey Institute Faculty and Staff:

I am writing to keep faculty and staff informed regarding ongoing integration efforts that are bringing systems, processes, and policies at MIIS and Middlebury College into alignment with one another. As you know, the goal of the two boards of trustees and two presidents at MIIS and Middlebury with respect to institutional policies is to achieve parity, meaning not necessarily identical policies, but highly compatible ones that may be adapted to the unique circumstances of either campus.

In the area of health and welfare benefits, our analysis has pointed to distinct advantages with respect to both absolute cost and the coverage we get for our money when we team up with Middlebury to create a larger pool of enrollees.

At the MIIS board meeting later this month, we will be presenting a proposal to align MIIS health and welfare benefits with Middlebury’s beginning on January 1, 2010. The changes being proposed will result in more generous benefits and greater choice of providers than are available under the existing MIIS plans. The specific changes include:

o Transition MIIS to the Middlebury medical plan (a self-insured plan under which the College contracts with CBA Blue to administer its claims process)

o Transition MIIS to the Middlebury dental plan

o Existing vision plan retained by MIIS, but not added by Middlebury

o Consolidate COBRA administration

o Consolidate flexible spending administration (with retention of debit card feature for MIIS employees)

o Consolidate Employee Assistance Program (retaining student coverage at MIIS)

o Joint transition by both MIIS and Midd employees to Mutual of Omaha life insurance, disability, etc., with adjustment for California disability plan

o Implementation of income sensitive premiums at MIIS

Overall Impact of Proposal:

o Significant potential monetary savings for the Institute, that would become available to address other pressing needs

o Plans have similar or greater value

o Greater flexibility in choice of medical and dental providers

o Overall ratio of employer to employee contributions remains approximately the same

o Income sensitivity in employee contributions, based on a percent of pay

o most employees will see reduced premiums

o some more highly compensated employees will see increased premiums

o one-year transitional funding to provide the latter employees with a year to budget for the increase

Among the benefits we can look forward to if this plan is approved by the board is an enhanced ability for Middlebury Human Resources staff to assist Institute employees with questions and issues, since all Middlebury and MIIS employees will be under the same benefit plans.

Because the MIIS plan year begins in October, we will conduct an open enrollment period to continue our existing plans for the three months remaining in 2009. Open enrollment for calendar year 2010 will take place in November and December. HR staff from MIIS and Middlebury will offer a series of webinars and/or videoconferences in order to explain the various benefit plans and answer questions from faculty and staff.

We believe these changes retain all of the key components of existing health and welfare benefits for Institute employees, while offering significant cost and/or coverage advantages for many members of our community. This proposal was presented to the Faculty Senate and the Staff Advisory Team on September 15, and will be presented to the Institute’s board of trustees for approval at their regularly scheduled September 24-26 meeting. This timing will ensure our ability to implement the changes by the January 1 start of the new plan year.

We will make every effort to respond to any questions or concerns faculty or staff may have about these changes. Please direct your questions to Cathy Vincent or Michael Ulibarri in the Human Resources office.

Sunder


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