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Defying trend: Wayne State mulls adding retiree benefits

May 16, 2006

This Booth Newspapers Web site posted an extended version of an AP story that ran several days ago about concerns over the high cost of health insurance for retirees in both corporate and non-profit organizations. At Wayne State University , a joint committee of the faculty and administration is studying the feasibility of adding university-subsidized health insurance for retirees. Currently, WSU retirees have access to university health plans but they must pay 100 percent of the premiums. The AAUP has agreed to put a portion of the upcoming academic year's wages in escrow in order to get a plan off the ground. Professor Allen Goodman said a subsidized health plan would be an unexpected bonus because he always assumed any insurance premiums would come from his savings. Paula Wood, co-chair of the committee and dean of the College of Education , said the committee will likely complete its work next winter. An actuarial firm currently is looking at costs of various plans. Provost Nancy Barrett cautioned that any plan would have to be funded entirely by internal mechanisms, such as leaving a position vacant for a year when someone retires.