Oct 272003
 
Authors: Natalie Plowman

State classified staff health insurance costs are on the

rise.

CSU staff members took to the Lory Student Center Plaza Monday

to protest a possible 30 percent increase.

“We have employees that cannot afford to pay for health care.

It’s a matter of social justice,” said Pete Seel, an associate

professor in the journalism and technical communication department.

This is the basic issue at hand, and staff members joined together

to publicize this concern.

“This is a crisis for people who are classified staff, people

who clean classrooms, mow the grass … for these people it’s a

crisis,” Seel said.

State classified employees are those who are employed by the

state of Colorado, and job descriptions can vary. Human Resource

Services is responsible for about 2,200 state classified employees,

according to its Web site.

The administrative and faculty staff’s health insurance rate was

frozen for next year, but the classified staff’s rates will most

likely increase by 30 percent in 2004, Seel said.

“They’re facing either paying for their mortgage or having

health insurance,” Seel said.

There is a Joint Budget Committee meeting next week at which

Seel is hoping the issue will be discussed and the protest will

have a positive effect on its outcome. A change in the law is the

only way to change the rates, Seel said.

“We’ve been working on this for a year,” Seel said. Kevin Nolan,

a classified staff employee in the academic computing and

networking services department, has been working with Seel and

together they have constructed a Web site that explains their take

on the issue.

“There’s no reason why anyone should go without health

insurance,” Seel said.

The Web site is also up to inform people that they do not just

have to willingly accept the rates of their health insurance costs,

but that there are things to be done about it, Seel said.

“The skyrocket cost of health care combined with the low

coverage of the state,” is what brought faculty out to protest,

Nolan said.

“Health care costs are a problem for us and about every other

institution in the U.S,” said Gerard Bomotti, vice president of

Administrative Services.

Bomotti said that it is not just the classified staff that has

low health insurance coverage.

“While the state classified coverage is not that high, I’d make

the statement for faculty coverage (as well),” Bomotti said.

During the protest, some students stopped by to see what was

being addressed.

“Assuming that their information is accurate, it’s a ridiculous

increase,” said senior Scott McCauley, a sports medicine major.

This issue directly affects Renie Hood, a part of the

administrative staff at the University Counseling Center.

“Our health care costs have increased dramatically. We’re 49th

out of 50 states for state contribution (to health insurance

coverage),” Hood said. “Hopefully the JBC will vote to contribute

more as a state so the employee can pay less.”

There is a small bit of good news though, Bomotti said.

“The premium costs for faculty and administration aren’t going

up,” said Bomotti, referring to the freeze in rates for the two

groups.

“We are amazed at the increase in cost,” Bomotti said. “The

state is facing extreme difficulties in financial issues.”

 

 

 

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