February 18, 2016

Employee Assembly Evaluates Benefit Options

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The Employee Assembly discussed the health and insurance benefits available to Cornell employees at a meeting Wednesday.   

These available benefits are communicated to employees through informative programs, according to Paul Bursic, senior director of benefit services.

“We do have an extensive outreach in a number of different areas, particularly around retirement plans, to let people know what benefits are available to them,” Bursic said.

Bursic added that Cornell offers a number of opportunities for employees to visit the benefits office throughout the year.

“There are various seminars and one-on-one counseling,” Bursic said. “We are also working to improve our webpage presence.”

Gina Giambattista, director of the office of the assemblies, and Billy Kepner, vice chair of communications, communicated concerns about insurance available to employees struggling wth mental health illnesses.

Cornell’s benefits plan provides extensive service for mental illness patients but it has limited resources due to the insurance market, according to Bursic.

“This is a provider problem and we always have to remember that the way healthcare is structured in this country is a private for profit business,” Bursic said. “Cornell’s healthcare plan has been in the vanguard for mental health care. Higher educational utilization for mental health services is roughly doubled than the profit market out there.”

The E.A. also plans to increase its presence on campus through meetings with the stakeholders of each college, according to Tanya Grove, executive vice chair of the E.A.

“We’re defining stakeholders as the high administrators of each college,” Grove said. “We are arranging meetings with the high administrators so that they can encourage their staffs to participate in the E.A.”