Staff Advisory Council

October 2015

September Staff Advisory Council Meeting
Meeting Minutes

October 27, 2015
9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
HR Conference Room

Present: Bonnie Bresett , Susan Gaskell, Rachel Louis, Jessica Nairn, Helena Warburg, Brian Teal, Kim Altiere , Tamra Hjermstad, Martha Tetrault, ex officio, Kevin Thomas, ex officio, Vishakha Sheoran, ex officio

Absent: Miguel Gutierrez, Veronica Bosley

Next Meeting: November 24, 2015, 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m., HR Conference Room

I. Approval of October 5 minutes

The members reviewed and approved meeting minutes for previous meeting.

II. Welcome and orientation to new members

Martha welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the new year. She gave an overview of the purpose of staff advisory council. Each member introduced themselves to other council members. Joining the council this year are:  Tamra Hjermstad from OIT, Veronica Bosley from the Dean of the Faculty’s Office, Brian Teal from Facilities, and Susan Gaskell from the VP for Campus Life’s Office.

III.    Benefits

Martha started the meeting with discussing the recent increase in health insurance. Martha shared that this year’s increase for health insurance premiums will be 11 percent, which is one of the biggest increases in last 6 years. The college’s plan is fully insured with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA). The College negotiates a premium each year with BCBSMA and they absorb the risk that the premiums will be enough to cover our medical costs and their administrative costs. BCBSMA lost money on William’s account for last 3 years.

There are a number of factors that contributed to the trend in our medical claims, including high-cost claims, the arrival and expense of new specialty drugs, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For the coming year Williams has chosen to maintain all the same health benefits for faculty and staff. There are no increases to co-pays and deductibles.

Few options were brought to the table to reduce the impact of increase in health insurance on employees. Helena questioned whether college will help lower income folks with covering insurance cost increases. Rachel asked if the claims were being reviewed to take out chronic illness versus one-time major claim. Members expressed individual opinions about the current wellness program and its usefulness in the past three years.


Martha shared that Open Enrollment will be announced soon. She also encouraged everyone in the room to spread the word about Open Forums with Fred Puddester, Martha, and Kris Maloney and, benefits broker, Holly Taylor, to discuss the current trends in healthcare, nationally and at Williams. The discussion will be followed by a Q&A session. Employees will be able to submit their questions and concerns ahead of time through an anonymous online form.



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