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April 13, 2017

Dental HMO rates going up

The monthly cost of Pitt’s dental HMO will rise with the 2017-18 plan year while the costs of other dental plans, along with rates for vision and life insurance, will remain the same.

John Kozar, assistant vice chancellor for Benefits, reported on the rates at the April 7 meeting of the Senate benefits and welfare committee.

The dental HMO increase of 14.5 percent comes with a guarantee of no rate increase for 2018-19, Kozar said.

Next year’s price jump was prompted by increased usage of the plan. “When utilization goes up there’s not much you can do” about the resultant cost increase, he said.

Letters concerning open enrollment for the next plan year will be sent soon to employees’ homes with fact sheets but without the lengthier summary guide, he noted, as part of the University’s increasing efforts to save paper. A multimedia version of the guide will be available online.


Cheryl Johnson, vice chancellor for Human Resources, told the committee that her department has commenced a study of total reward packages for staff.

The effort, including a staff survey and benchmarking of salaries and benefits against other institutions, is aimed at adjusting Pitt’s salary and benefits structure by June 2018, she said.

Johnson noted that each employee’s total compensation goes far beyond salary. The study also will examine the University’s reward and recognition system and its career development and work-life programs to assess what Pitt’s competition does and whether there are best practices for Human Resources to adopt.

The University’s most recent total reward survey was done in 2000. The new study will help Pitt adjust its pay structure in cases, for example, where current employees have raise rate restrictions that keep them less well-compensated than new hires.

The effort also will look at the University’s diversity hiring efforts.

In other news:

• As of the end of February, UPMC MyHealth@Work Health and Wellness Center, the walk-in clinic for Pitt employees, has had nearly 1,500 visits since its opening in April 2016. February was its busiest month, with 191 people using the facility. In total, three quarters of its users have been women, and three quarters have been staff members. The list of ailments most often cited by patrons is topped by acute respiratory complaints, followed by concerns involving the circulatory system, injuries and skin issues. A one-year anniversary event at the clinic will be held 11 a.m.-2 p.m. April 19; healthy snacks will be available, says Lori Carnvale, director of Benefits in Human Resources.

• Committee member Linda Tashbook was elected chairperson without opposition, replacing Sachin Velankar at the end of his term. Tashbook takes office in the fall.

—Marty Levine

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