Healthcare Fairness for the UCSB Community!
To: Janet Napolitano, President of the University of California From: UC Santa Barbara Faculty and Staff. Welcome to the University of California! We wish you success in your new post. For decades, one of the best things about working at our great university has been the set of excellent health care options available to faculty and staff. But these are now under attack, at least for those who work at UCSB. The Human Resources and Benefits Department of the UC Office of the President has recently announced a comprehensive restructuring of health care options offered to UC employees. The most significant change is that the university has ended its contract with Anthem and in its place created a new insurance vehicle, UC Care, designed to make better use of UC’s extensive medical infrastructure. For many employees this new plan may be efficient and advantageous, but for those of us who work at UC Santa Barbara, which lacks a UC medical facility, the new plan creates serious disruption and expense, apparently because UCOP has been unable to reach an agreement with the key provider groups and medical facilities in our SouthCoast region. Neither of the two major physicians groups in our area – Sansum Clinic and Santa Barbara Select IPA – will furnish network providers; Cottage Hospital, the sole major medical facility, has not signed on either. The nearest providers will be in Lompoc and Ventura! UC Care does offer a “Tier 2” plan which will enable us to access these physicians and facilities, but under this insurance template we will have to pay 20% of all costs, including tests and hospitalization, up to a specified ceiling so, depending on the services needed, one's medical expenses could be much greater. Originally four other campuses were in similar situations, but the systemwide UC Faculty Welfare committee protested, and agreements were eventually reached with local providers for those campuses. We now remain the only campus without equal access to UC health plan options. At least 750 employees and their families will be affected. We call upon you and the Regents to insure that those of us in the UCSB community are treated with equity and fairness when it comes to our health care choices and expenditures. At the heart of all insurance lies the pooling of risk and the relative equalization of premiums and other expenses. The University of California should adhere to these principles in its administration of the new UC Care insurance plan, thereby making it possible for members of our community to access health care providers and facilities of the same quality, convenience, and expense enjoyed by other employees of the University of California. Please add your name, department, and e-mail to this petition. It is sponsored by the UCSB Faculty Association, a voluntary membership organization that provides an independent voice for faculty on the Santa Barbara campus. For more information, and to become a member, go to http://ucsbfa.org/