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Retiree Health Benefits

MEMO TO:     Faculty and Staff Community

FROM:          Laurita Thomas, Associate Vice President for Human Resources

SUBJECT:      Retiree Benefits Discussion Groups


Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

As announced in late 2009, the university has appointed a new committee to recommend changes to retiree health benefits. The Committee on Retiree Health Benefits (CORHB) was appointed as a result of continuing efforts to contain the growth of benefit costs. Their work is now underway, and the committee is seeking your input as they research recommendations to be presented to the executive vice presidents in June.

You are invited to participate in one of three discussion group events being held between March 3 and 9 in Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint. These one hour and fifteen minute sessions are designed for small group discussion, so registration is required to ensure we can plan for adequate facilitation. We will continue to accept registrations until a session is full.

The committee members hope to learn more about faculty, staff and retiree perspectives as they study the complex issues of adjusting retiree benefits for cost savings while ensuring that our benefits program remains highly competitive. University findings show that U-M retiree health benefits significantly exceed the market average, and the university’s retiree population is growing at a faster rate than the faculty and staff population. Change is required, but our charge to the committee includes remaining sensitive to the impact on those who are already retired or near retirement. Your opinions will be valuable to the expert committee as we work toward the best long-term solutions to this challenge.

Committee recommendations will focus on eligibility requirements for employees to retire with benefits and health care cost sharing for current and future retirees. Therefore, the discussion groups will focus on these same issues. Each meeting will open with a brief presentation on the university’s challenge and the charge to the committee, followed by small group discussions with facilitators.

Attendance at each location will be limited to ensure effective group discussion and adequate time. If you are unable to attend, I encourage you to learn more about the work of the committee and share your perspective with the committee through the Benefits Stewardship Web site at: <http://www.benefitsstewardship.umich.edu/>.

Committed to hearing your perspectives,

Laurita Thomas
Associate Vice President for Human Resources