Oberlin College faculty were recently informed that we will all be moved onto a Consumer Driven Healthcare Plan, a high-deductible plan, in direct contradiction to the recommendation of our Compensation Committee. In an email that went out to faculty and in the July 9 Campus Digest, we were told, “The transition to a Consumer-Directed Health Plan and Health Savings Account … brings Oberlin into alignment with current benefits trends and best practices.” When compared to other colleges, this statement is simply not true.
I have compared Oberlin’s future healthcare offerings to that of the 16 schools that we typically compare ourselves to. The vast majority of these schools, 13 to be specific, offer their faculty a choice of plans. You can find a list of these schools below. I’ve listed the types of plans offered, and where the school offers a High Deductible Healthcare Plan I’ve added the individual/family in-network deductibles — an important point of comparison to Oberlin’s plan.
Amherst College: Choice of Health Maintenance Organization, HMO with deductible, Point of Service, or HDHP with a $1,500/$3,000 deductible
Bowdoin College: Choice of Preferred Provider Organization or two versions of HDHP; better deductible is $1,500/$3,000; worse is $2,800/$5,200
Carleton College: Choice of PPO or HDHP with a $1,500/ $3,000 deductible
Connecticut College: Choice of two PPOs or HDHP with a $1,500/$3,000 deductible
Haverford College: Choice of HMO, PPO, or HDHP with a $1,500/$3,000 deductible
Kenyon College: Choice of Basic or Premium PPOs
Middlebury College: Choice of traditional PPO or HDHP with a $2,000/$4,000 deductible and a Maximum Out-of-Pocket of $3,000/$6,000
Pomona College: Choice of two HMOs or HDHP with a $1,500/$3,000 deductible
Reed College: Choice of HMO or “added choice” plan with increasing costs outside of network
Swarthmore College: Choice of PPO, POS, HMO, or HDHP with a $2,000/$4,000 deductible
Vassar College: Choice of PPO, Exclusive Provider Organization with limited provider choice, or HDHP with a $2,500/$5,000 deductible. These amounts are also the annual Maximum Out-of-Pocket amounts, as opposed to Oberlin’s $4,000/$8,000 Maximum Out-of-Pocket
Wesleyan University: Choice of Open Access, Open Access Plus, or HDHP with a $1500/ $3000 deductible
Williams College: Choice of HMO with a $0 deductible, HMO with a $500 deductible, PPO with a$500 deductible, or PPO HDHP with a $1,500/$3,000 deductible
Here is a list of all the schools that offer only one plan, as well as the type of plan that they offer.
Colgate University: Traditional PPO with a $0 deductible
Grinnell College: Traditional PPO with a $250/$750 deductible
Hamilton College: Traditional PPO with a $275/$825 deductible
Oberlin College: HDHP with a $2,000/$4,000 deductible and a Maximum Out-of-Pocket of $4,000/$8,000
Here is a list of all the colleges in our group that offer only a HDHP to their faculty and staff:
Oberlin College: HDHP $2,000/$4,000
That’s it. That’s the full list. Our healthcare plan is not bringing us “into alignment with current benefits trends and best practices” for colleges. On the contrary, Oberlin is now an outlier and our lack of choice makes this benefit no longer remotely competitive.
This move is being made at a time when our salaries also lag significantly behind those in our peer group. As the Review reported earlier this year, the Arts and Sciences faculty salaries are currently 12.9 percent behind the average of our peer group institutions and losing ground at a rate of about 2 percent a year. The fact that our healthcare benefit will no longer be competitive adds injury to insult.