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University of Arkansas System Health Plan Premiums effective July 1, 2018

The University of Arkansas System self-funded health plan provides coverage for employees and their eligible family members.  The majority of the health plan costs are paid by the University.  In 2017 the University contributed about $125M toward the cost of health care and employees contributed about $36M.  For July 1, total premiums will increase by 1%, see below. 




Monthly Premium

Monthly Premium

Employee Only




Employee and Spouse




Employee and Children




Employee and Family







Monthly Premium

Monthly Premium

Employee Only




Employee and Spouse




Employee and Children




Employee and Family







Monthly Premium

Monthly Premium

Employee Only

 $                    387.76



Employee and Spouse

 $                    882.48



Employee and Children

 $                    726.84



Employee and Family

 $                1,231.40



The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will only increase the employer’s portion the employee’s portion will remain the same.  Click here for the premium sheets with employee’s and employer’s premium breakdown.

In January 2018 the University began a multi-year process to adjust the percentage of premiums subsidized for dependents.  Dependent subsidies are the portion of total monthly health premiums paid by the University for spouses and dependent children enrolled in the health plan.    Today, the University’s subsidy amounts paid for spouses are about twice as much as the University’s dollar contributions for employee-only coverage.   The subsidy is changing and employees will pay a higher percentage of the total premium for dependent coverage.   The University works to provide a competitive, sustainable Health Plan and addressing dependent subsidies supports those efforts.

Before January 2018 the University paid about 78% of the premium cost for spouse and child participation in the health plan.   In comparison, other public employers in Arkansas and other universities across the Southeastern region with plans and costs similar to those at the University pay less toward dependent coverage, in the range of 62% to 72% of the premium cost.  Aligning subsidies with those paid in the community and across the region allows the University to continue to offer competitive benefits and to redirect some of those dollars now spent on subsidies to other needs including salaries.

In most employer health plans spouses tend to use more health care and cost the plans more money than do employees.  In the University’s Plan that is also the case and spouses are about 25% more expensive than employees.  Adjusting the premium expense for spouses enrolled in either Employee Plus Spouse or Family coverage begins to more correctly reflect the costs of spouses on the Plan.

Many spouses have access to health coverage through their employment outside of the University.  The University works to provide meaningful and affordable benefits programs for University employees and believes other employers should do the same for their employees.  Competitively aligning subsidies for spouses in the University’s Plan may encourage spouses employed outside of the University to explore coverage through their own employment.

Adjusting subsidy levels may help the University avoid considering Working Spouse Exclusions or overall Spouse Exclusions again in the future.  Because there is no legal requirement to offer health coverage for spouses some employers have moved to restrict or simply eliminate that coverage option.   The change in dependent subsidies strikes a balance in offering coverage but at a cost that is more sustainable for the University.

Even with this change the University is still paying a major portion of the total monthly premium cost.  And with this change the costs to employees will remain very competitive with the costs at other employers in Arkansas and across the region.  Click here for  examples of the actual premiums paid by employees at other organizations with plans similar to the University’s Classic Plan

The University is still paying a major portion of the total monthly premium cost.  There are no changes to copays, deductible, coinsurance.  At this time the benefits provided under the University’s three medical plans will remain the same.

Revised Wellness Program

The following only applies to employees enrolled as the primary member/carrier in one of the three UA medical insurance plans: Classic, Premier and Health Savings Plan. If you are covered as the spouse or child under someone else’s UA plan, this does not apply to you.

The University has made the decision to move away from the formal wellness program previously administered through Onlife. Effective July 31, 2018, the services provided by Onlife, including access to their website and health coaches, will end. Biometric screenings offered in past summers on UAPB Campus during Faculty/Staff Seminar will end.  Disease management and wellness services remain available through UMR.

Wellness remains an important objective and the University will continue to reward employees who complete specific wellness steps. Instead of the previous wellness program through Onlife, the University will focus on these two goals:

  • Tobacco cessation
  • Promoting annual preventive/wellness exam.

You will still need to complete two steps this year in order to receive your wellness reward in 2019. The steps will be simpler than in years past. The two steps are:

  1. Visit an in-network primary care provider (PCP) of your choice for an annual wellness visit.

The visit must be by November 1st of this year. If you’ve already had your annual wellness exam in the last 12 months – since Nov. 1, 2017 – great, you have completed this step. If not, schedule your exam early enough so that your visit occurs on or before November 1, 2018. Be sure to go to an in-network doctor.

An annual wellness exam with basic lab work is covered as a preventive benefit, meaning our medical insurance picks up the full cost; you do not pay a copay or deductible. When you schedule your appointment, be sure to indicate that this is the annual wellness exam that your insurance covers in full. Be prepared for a possible regular office visit claim to be filed, however, especially if this is your first doctor’s visit in a while. Why? If your wellness exam begins as preventive but the doctor identifies a condition and submits the claim with a diagnosis of a condition or as treatment of a condition, UMR cannot pay the claim as a preventive visit. The claim must be filed to UMR as “preventive” in order to be free to you.

While it’s important for you to know your biometric numbers - such as your cholesterol and blood pressure - you will not be required to report or record them. They are for your information so that you may set your own goals to becoming healthier.

  1. Complete the Tobacco Attestation.

You won’t do this until November, during Open Enrollment. You’ll receive more details at that time.

As in years past, the reward will be a reduction to your 2019 maximum out of pocket limit if you have Classic or Premier Coverage. If you are in the Health Savings Plan, your reward will be an additional employer contribution to your HSA. However, if you check the third option indicating you will remain a smoker or tobacco user, or if you fail to complete the tobacco attestation in November, you will not receive the wellness reward. You will also have an additional $50 tobacco surcharge deducted from your paycheck.

$50 Tobacco Surcharge

Starting January 2019, any employee who carries the UA medical insurance and who self-reports that they will be a tobacco/nicotine user in 2019, or who fails to take the tobacco attestation, will pay a $50 tobacco surcharge each month.  This is a separate, after-tax deduction on your paystub -- not added to your normal medical premium cost. The tobacco attestation is based on the honor system. However, the University will review program compliance the first year and may choose to return to Cotinine Testing in future years. (Cotinine is an alkaloid found in tobacco.) “Tobacco” includes any form of tobacco products that are smoked (e.g., cigarettes, cigars, pipes); applied to the gums, chewed or ingested (e.g., dipping or chewing leaf tobacco); and/or inhaled (e.g., snuff or electronic cigarettes).

The University of Arkansas recognizes the value of a tobacco-free workplace and has created this program to assist and encourage employees in ending their use of tobacco and tobacco products. The surcharge applies to your use of tobacco products. It does not apply to covered spouses or children.

Tobacco Cessation Programs

Smokers and tobacco users have many opportunities to quit. Tobacco cessation assistance is available through UMR at no cost to participants. Chantix, patches, gum, and/or two office visits with your in-network primary care physician are provided at no expense to you through our medical plan. Your provider’s office visit claim must be coded as a visit for tobacco cessation in order for the zero copayment to apply.

UA Retirement Savings Plan

This section does not apply to APERS/ARTRS participants. However, they and others who are ineligible for contributions to the UA 403(b) Retirement Plan may make personal, unmatched contributions at any time.

We are in year three of the five-year phase-in to a required employee retirement contribution of 5% by July 2020. This affects employees who participate in the UA Retirement Plan through TIAA and/or Fidelity and are eligible for the employer match.

The employee required contribution will increase from 2% to 3% with the pay period beginning July 1, 2018. This change will have no impact on the total percentage that most employees contribute. Rather, we will automatically reduce your VOLUNTARY contribution by 1% and move that 1% to the REQUIRED contribution.

These changes require no action on your part. However, you can elect to change your VOLUNTARY % contribution at any time. You can also elect to change how you invest your retirement savings by contacting Fidelity and/or TIAA any time, either by logging into your account via their websites or by calling them.