Plans for the Future: Notre Dame’s Health Care Strategy Working Group

Published: March 09, 2015

Health care in the United States has changed dramatically in the last decade, and rising medical plan costs have outpaced many employers’ abilities to meet them.

To guide our response to these challenges, the University has formed the Health Care Strategy Working Group. During Spring 2015, the faculty and staff members of the Working Group will develop and recommend guiding principles for future University medical benefits plan designs that are both competitive and sustainable. Included below are answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the Health Care Strategy Working Group:

  1. What is the Health Care Strategy Working Group?
  2. Why was the Working Group formed?
  3. Why is this important to me?
  4. What sort of recommendations will the Working Group make?
  5. Will our medical plan change for 2016? If so, how?
  6. Where can I get more information?

1. What is the Health Care Strategy Working Group?

Comprised of sixteen faculty and staff members, the Working Group formed in November 2014 to develop a set of principles and recommendations to guide the design of future medical benefit plans that remain competitive while mitigating the rise in health care costs that our Notre Dame community currently faces.

2. Why was the Working Group formed?

Medical benefit costs have dramatically outpaced the costs of all other University benefits. In the past ten years, the per-employee cost of medical benefits has more than doubled – an increase of 115%. That’s more than four times the national rate of inflation. The University must slow this trend in order to continue providing the most competitive and high-quality benefits possible.

3. Why is this important to me?

Each of us is responsible for being part of the solution—working together as one community to promote a healthier Notre Dame so that competitive benefits may be offered for years to come. When health care costs consume an ever-greater portion of the operating budget (which is derived primarily from student tuition), the University is less able to provide other important benefits such as pay raises, tuition reimbursement, professional development, and more. And because medical claims are paid by the University—not an insurance company—we owe it to you to keep those expenses from affecting our other commitments to your overall Notre Dame employment experience.

4. What sort of recommendations will the Working Group make?

The group is charged with developing guiding principles and recommendations to be considered by University Leadership and the Benefits Committee when designing future plans. For example, recommendations may regard the choices of plans offered, the size of provider networks, the degree of competitiveness with other universities, the role of wellness programs, or other considerations of that nature. The Working Group will not design medical plans; the task of designing plans will continue to rest with University Leadership and the Benefits Committee.

5. Will our medical plan change for 2016? If so, how?

At this time, we don’t know if or how exactly the medical benefits plans will change – the Working Group will be working on its recommendations through the Spring. The University is committed to keeping you informed as we move through this process.

6. Where can I get more information?

Watch for more opportunities to learn about and participate in the Working Group’s activities, coming soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions about this effort, we encourage you to contact the Working Group member from your respective college or department, listed below. Or, email your questions to healthcareworkinggroup@nd.edu.

College / Department Working Group Member
Office of Human Resources Bob McQuade, Vice President (Chair)
University Leadership John Affleck-Graves, Executive Vice President
Architecture Dennis Doordan, Professor
College of Arts & Letters Bill Evans, Professor
College of Science Umesh Garg, Professor
Faculty Senate Nasir Ghiaseddin, Associate Professor
Office of Information Technology Todd Hill, Senior Director
College of Engineering Yih-Fang Huang, Professor
Finance Linda Kroll, Associate Vice President
Morris Inn Joe Kurth, Director
Office of Human Resources Denise Murphy, Director
College of Arts & Letters John Sitter, Professor
Staff Advisory Council Tamara Springer, Editorial Assistant
Medoza College of Business Ann Tenbrunsel, Professor
Law School Julian Velasco, Associate Professor
Building Services Karen Horvath, Custodial Crew Leader