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Update to Healthcare Provider RFP

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University of Denver

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Dear faculty and staff,

As summarized in The Bridge a few weeks ago, Human Resources conducted a survey in the fall to gauge faculty and staff opinions about our current health care provider and options. At the same time, the Voluntary Pay Action & Employee Benefits Review Working Group was charged to take a comprehensive look at the employee benefit portfolio and compare DU’s employee benefits to peer institutions and provide an objective review of costs and benefits. Based upon the findings from the survey and working group, the University then issued a request for proposal (RFP) for health insurance carriers for all benefitted employees in January. Health provider RFPs are routinely conducted to ensure that DU is offering the best health care options to employees while also using University resources wisely.

The fall survey results revealed very strong feelings about our current health care provider, Kaiser. There were strong supporters of Kaiser, and nearly an equal number whose experiences had not been positive. The survey also revealed that Kaiser was falling short on a few critical issues. Employees specifically indicated a desire for more robust mental health and infertility services, stronger customer service, and access to major medical systems in the Denver area, such as UC Health.

The RFP, issued by Gallagher, DU’s third party vendor who negotiates on behalf of the University, resulted in several health insurance companies stepping forward to put their best proposal in front of the RFP committee specifically tasked to consider health care provider alternatives.

Of the five proposals received, only three, Anthem, Cigna, and Kaiser, met the full list of specifications in the RFP. While there were many factors considered, the main components assessed by the committee were overall cost, sustainability, network viability, risk share arrangements, financial and performance guarantees, mental health support, and member transition services. Above all, the committee stressed that the health and well-being of employees was the top priority in evaluating the proposals.

The committee has just completed their review of the providers and their recommendation will be considered carefully over the coming days. Recognizing that a change could pose a major disruption for employees and their families, we will want the assurance that if a change is made, the company will have substantial support available in order to address questions and make the transition as seamless as possible. We want to reassure you that if another provider is selected the University is committed to supporting employees through every step of the transition. I anticipate a decision will be made shortly and we will communicate that decision, along with any other supporting information, as quickly as possible. At this time we anticipate that open enrollment for health care will take place in May, as per usual.

In the meantime, if benefitted employees would like to review the information shared previously, please visit the website. We will add answers to frequently asked questions as we move forward in the process.


Jerron Lowe
Interim Vice Chancellor for Human Resources