The University Record, March 14, 1994


Reader says flex proposal unfair to single employees

Re: one-person medical coverage under the proposed flexible benefits program:

I believe what recipients of “one-person medical coverage” find so abhorrent is the inequity of flex dollars available to those who are recipients of “multiple-person medical coverage.”

I cannot believe in a program that cannot pay approximately $20 more a month (eye glass coverage and increased dental coverage) for one person who wants to keep Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan coverage but will cover much more additional costs for multiple-person medical coverage wanting the same things.

Why do I have to choose mediocre medical coverage when someone else with multiple coverage ends up with extra flex dollars with the medical coverage of their choice?

There is no arguing the situation, the University is discriminating against people who have one-person medical coverage.

No matter how much the committee skews the costs, refuses to answer questions (directly), refuses to acknowledge the burden they are placing on people without an annual income of $50,000 (a favorite starting point), the facts are clear to employees with one-person medical coverage.

I am tired of hearing that I don’t realize how much the University is giving me as though my medical coverage were an unearned benefit. It was understood that medical coverage for one person would be paid for by the University as part of the benefit package offered me when I started working here. Personnel told me the pay is below standard but the benefits make up for it. Up to this point the University has lived up to its reputation for outstanding benefits and low pay; it has been a livable, workable situation.

Catherine E. Tonn, academic services secretary, U-M-Dearborn

Professor finds flex phone survey system inefficient

During the week of Feb. 25, I received a letter informing me that I was one of those randomly chosen for a survey on the flex plan.

Monday Feb. 28 (2 p.m.): I received a call from a woman (who I believe was associated with the U-M) for the telephone survey; I was busy and we fixed Tuesday (March 1) 9 a.m. for the survey.

Tuesday March 1: I had a meeting at a different part of the campus at 8 a.m., rushed back from it to my office in time for the 9 a.m. appointment. No calls. At 2 p.m. I received a call from a man who identified himself as working for some consulting agency which did not seem to be part of the University; he said that he received the message about the 9 a.m. appointment only after 9 a.m. (this revelation by him was not voluntary). I could not do the survey at the time he called. We agreed he should call on Thursday (March 3) to fix another appointment.

I still have not received the call (due Thursday). Whose money is being spent (by whom) on this inefficient operation? Which disorganized consultant is the monetary beneficiary of this?

M.S. Ramanujan, professor of mathematics and associate chair, Department of Mathematics. March 4, 1994