No Changes to Health Plan Expected
University Monitoring Harvard Pilgrim status

    Despite the problems being experienced by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Boston College administrators said last week the University does not expect changes in its employee health insurance program, but is exploring alternatives as a precaution.

    Some 2,400 BC faculty and staff are covered by Harvard Pilgrim, which was placed in state receivership Jan. 4 after reporting heavy losses in 1999.

Benefits Director John R. Burke issued the following statement on Jan. 12 concerning the situation:
    "Recent events regarding the precarious state of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care's finances are of obvious concern to Boston College and its employees.

    "We have met with Harvard Pilgrim executives, and we have been assured that all terms of our contract with HPHC remain fully intact and that plan members should continue to arrange for and utilize services in the usual fashion.

    "When indications of HPHC's financial difficulties first came to light several months ago, we asked Hewitt Associates, a benefits consulting firm, to give us their assessment of HPHC's situation and to recommend appropriate steps for Boston College to take.

    "As a precautionary measure, we have since begun the process of soliciting bids from alternative insurance carriers in case we decide to offer another health plan option.

    "We want to stress at this time that we do not anticipate having to replace Harvard Pilgrim as our health insurance carrier. Nevertheless, we want to be prepared in the event we find it prudent to offer another choice.

    "We will continue to monitor this matter most closely and will keep employees apprised as circumstances warrant."

    Burke said Boston College currently offers two Harvard Pilgrim plans, the Preferred Provider Organization and the Health Maintenance Organization. Of approximately 2,400 employees enrolled, 65 percent are in the PPO and 35 percent in the HMO.

                                                                                                                           - Mark Sullivan

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