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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Aircraft Purchases, The Crossing Room Rates, and Health Care Coverage Increases Considered by Board

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 21, 2014) – To help maintain the University of Central Missouri’s current fleet of training aircraft, the UCM Board of Governors has approved the purchase of four used airplanes for the Department of Aviation, along with aircraft sales and lease discontinuation expected to help generate net savings.

Board action was taken during the plenary session Oct. 17 in the Elliott Student Union. During the meeting, the board also set housing rates for The Crossing – South at Holden, and accepted a renewal offer from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City for the 2015 calendar year.

The board approved a recommendation from Roger Best, dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies, to purchase two used single-engine Cessna 172S airplanes and two twin-engine Beechcraft 58 Baron aircraft. An external agency will help the university obtain financing for the aircraft for up to seven years, and not to exceed $1,141,000, including broker fees. Funds from the sale of aircraft along with proceeds received from a donor currently held in the UCM Foundation and a contribution from the Department of Aviation’s aircraft reserve fund also will be used to help pay for the aircraft. Best said a Cessna 172S airplane and a Piper Seminole, both now used for training purposes, will be sold at an estimated cost of $233,000. Savings of about $137,000 also will be derived from the discontinuation of three aircraft leases.

Best said these airplane purchases allow the aviation program to convert fully to Beechcraft Barons for multi-engine training. The change to Beechcraft is largely because of its affordability versus the Piper Seminole which has previously been used by UCM aviation. Additionally, lease terms limit the number of flight hours to 40 per month, which becomes an issue in high-demand periods such as the fall and spring when weather conditions are optimum for flying. By eliminating the leases, the university can avoid additional costs created by airplane use above the limited flying hours. Considering current fleet utilization, Best said it is cost advantageous for UCM to purchase airplanes instead of leading them.

 In other business, the board unanimously approved setting monthly room rates for The Crossing - South at Holden, all utilities included, as follows: $550 for four-bedroom, $650 for two-bedroom, and 700 for the four-bedroom garden apartments. These rates are effective for the 2015-16 academic year, and are based on what each person who has a bed in the apartment will pay. For example, if two individuals live in a two-bedroom unit, then each of them pays $650 per month. The rates are similar to what students are going to pay in other apartment-style living at UCM.

The board typically sets housing rates in the spring. Patrick Bradley, director of University Housing, told the board the university needs to consider rates for The Crossing early because of significant student interest. Preference is being given to individuals who were in the first-year class under the new Learning to a Greater Degree student contract for completion as of the fall 2013 semester. Student Housing will work with University Relations to finalize a marketing campaign directed at juniors, seniors and graduate students who would be eligible to reside at The Crossing.

In other business, the board approved the renewal of UCM’s health insurance plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City following a presentation by Bob Charlesworth, health care consultant, and Rick Dixon, director of the Human Resources at UCM. After intense negotiations with Blue Cross Blue Shield, the university’s renewal increase this year is 10.24 percent overall. This, Charlesworth noted, represents a significant increase over the 1.6 percent increase in 2014, which occurred after UCM rebid its health plan and Blue KC was chosen as the insurance provider.

 In 2014, the university retained its long-standing $500 deductible Plan A and introduced a new $2,500 Qualified High Deductible Plan (QHDP) with a Health Savings Account (HSA) in which the university contributed $600. Both plans remain intact for 2015, and UCM will once again contribute $600 toward  faculty and staff members who utilize the QHDP. The maximum out-of- pocket expense for individuals on Plan A, however, will increase $500 from $2,750 to $3,250. According to Dixon, this is because, effective in 2015, prescription copays will count toward the maximum out- of- pocket expense. QHDP deductible for individuals will increase from $2,500 to $2,600.  Both changes are due to mandates in the Health Care Reform Act. The maximum out- of- pocket increase is expected be cost neutral since the prescription copays that previously did not count toward the maximum out- of- pocket cost, will count beginning in 2015.

 Dixon said although this year's increase is 10.24 percent, UCM's average annual increase remains at 5.1 percent which is lower than the national average health care cost increase of 8.6 percent over the last 10 years. UCM has accomplished this through constant vigilance of its practices, employees’ wellness efforts and healthy lifestyle choices.

Dixon provided an example of how the overall increase in health insurance will affect employees, citing Plan A, the most common employee plan. The total premium cost for an employee under Plan A will increase from $551 to $603 per month. The Tier 1 employee-only monthly contribution goes from $11 to $12; Tier 2 employee-only monthly contribution goes from $28 to $30; and Tier 3 employee-only monthly contribution goes from $44 to $48.