Quick Questions with Lloyd Moore, director of benefits
We’re continuing our series in getting to know Human Resources. In case you missed it, we already spoke with Amy King about the new HR strategic plan, and with Ken Pinnock about people development. Next, we sit down with Lloyd Moore, director of benefits.
Q: What are some of your biggest challenges in managing benefits programs for DU?
I’m hoping to encourage and empower employees to take control of their health and wellness and to achieve their personal goals. At DU, we strive to provide our employees with options that work for them. We provide employees the opportunity to learn how to live healthy lifestyles, which helps us mitigate health care costs for the employee, their family and DU.
We also strive to keep all benefits competitive and provide real value to employees. We use a structure that supports employees’ health needs. We can use anonymous data from well-being assessments, surveys and other tools to gauge what programs and coverage will best serve our community, and then work with Kaiser (Permanente) to tailor our plans accordingly. We also make sure there are provisions for those who prefer to go out of the Kaiser network.
We will continue to build upon a system that focuses on total wellness and remains affordable.
Q: Health care costs are always a concern to employees; how does DU mitigate the cost to employees? What is your strategy for keeping costs low?
DU has done a wonderful job at keeping health care costs competitive; this past year the premium increase was only one percent, which is well below the average increase in Colorado. The success of the wellness program has contributed to our low costs, thanks in large part to employee involvement.
However, we can still kick it up a notch. Financial rewards are a good incentive, but to keep people motivated over the long haul, they need to see how it will lead to lasting benefits for themselves and their families.
Total health and wellness isn’t just something we want for employees; it involves spouses, partners, children and the community as a whole. Therein lies the challenge; each member of the DU community is contributing to the cost of health care. If we each can make little improvements in our lives that helps us keep costs at a minimum.
Employees are also taking the time to learn about their benefits and are asking good questions. I always encourage people to contact me if they have questions or concerns. It’s through these discussions that I learn what is or isn’t working or being communicated effectively.
Q: What are some of DU’s most under-utilized benefits? Are there perks available to employees we may not know about?
I think many people don’t take advantage of the Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and Health Savings Account (HSA) options. The FSA can be used for reimbursement of expenses related to medical insurance deductibles and co-pays, out-of-pocket medical treatments or supplies and dependent healthcare expenses. You can save a lot of money this way over the long haul, but if you don’t use the balance over the course of the plan year, it does not carry over.
You have to be enrolled in a high-deductible plan to utilize the HSA. However, if you enroll in the Consumer-Directed Health Plan (CDHP), DU contributes to your HSA account! Unlike the FSA, funds roll over and accumulate year to year if not spent.
These two plans can be rather complicated, so I encourage people who are interested to give me a call and we can talk through whether an FSA or HSA would be a good option for their individual needs.
Another benefit that I feel is under-utilized is long-term care services. Accidents and illnesses can happen at any age, and you may unexpectedly have the need for extended care. Most of us don’t plan for that. Honestly, we don’t really want to think about that, especially when we’re younger, but things can happen. We offer many options, so I encourage folks to look into it and again, give me a call with questions.
DU offers an excellent retirement plan, in which almost 90 percent of our employees already participate. This week is National Retirement Security Week, so let’s see if we can boost that participation to 100 percent!
Appointed employees are eligible to enroll in the employer match feature of the retirement plan at any time after completing one year of continuous employment with the University. When eligible employees contribute at least 4 percent of their salary, the University will contribute an 8 percent match. That’s free money! The retirement plan is available to both appointed and non-appointed employees.
Finally, I intend to do a lot with employee discounts this year. I plan to take a proactive approach to expand the offerings we have out there. If you have any ideas or recommendations, I’d love to hear about them so I can reach out to those organizations and see what we can do.
Q: The tuition waiver is one of those benefits that can be very complex to use; can you give us a general overview of what it looks like for employees and their families?
The tuition waiver is an amazing benefit. I am aware of some of the concerns surrounding requesting and applying the waiver. Perhaps we can start by making sure the instructions are clear, concise and easy to comprehend. The process for applying the tuition waiver is a bit burdensome at this time, and I want to simplify the process to make it a more accessible benefit. I am planning to reconvene the tuition waiver policy committee so that we can complete the progress that has already been made toward simplifying the process.
Q: What else would you like to share with us?
I want people to know that I am very accessible. I really do want people to call me, email me, or visit my office to ask me questions. Especially being new to this position, I encourage people to share their experiences and concerns with me. We have a wide range of offerings, but I need to know what it is working and what isn’t.
It’s important to me that we, in benefits, are easy to do business with. This doesn’t always mean it’s going to work out to your complete satisfaction, but we are going take your concerns seriously and work collaboratively to resolve issues and implement benefit programs that promote total health and well-being for all employees and their families.
By Katie Watt
Posted Oct. 20, 2015