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Friday, December 19, 2014

UNM is paying for employee benefits with retiree benefi ts

Editor,

I retired from UNM a year ago. I am one of the 600 people under age 65 who have health care from the University. People seem to forget that the University opted out of the State of New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority. The University could save the couple of percent cost and do it by itself cheaper than figured. Now it’s costing more and they can’t afford to get into the system so costs will be shifted to the retirees now. “Cost-shifting” of $6 million was done three years ago by increasing co-pays, raising deductibles and out of pocket maximums and introducing “co-insurance,” a nifty, newly made up category (cost). So staff and faculty who got sick or hurt ended up picking up $6 million more in costs out of pocket than they would have before.

Now it seems that the University wants to find a way to come up with $6 million again, this time to pay for raises. They figure that it could be done by “cost-shifting” that to 600 retirees’ health care costs? Over the last 6 years, the University has given 0 percent raises how many times? How much would have been saved in operating costs if cost of living raises had been given? But in the end it seems that the plan is to give people raises and then turn around and take that exact amount back through increased health care costs…and let’s hope that nobody notices that.

Wow.

Tom Rolland

Retired UNM staff