Changes in Bradley University Health Benefits and Short-term Disability

As we all continue to navigate the changes and challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bradley must continue to make some difficult decisions. As we have explained, colleges and universities across the nation are going to see significant declines in enrollment this fall as well as declines in retention and overall financial support.  In an effort to prepare, we have established a group that is scenario planning for possible revenue declines of 25% and 35%, and possibly more.

One of the first areas we are making changes is in our health benefits and short-term disability offerings.  These changes are long overdue and the necessity is even greater now because of COVID-19 and additional expenses on the university.

Bradley has a history of providing rich benefits. In fact, Bradley has maintained a PPO plan with a $0 deductible and no increases to the employee share of the premium for more than seven years. As healthcare costs have continued to increase, employee’s share of the cost and premiums have not.  And, with regard to short-term disability, depending on years of service, Bradley pays a qualifying employee up to 100% of their salary for a six-month period. These benefits are nearly unheard of in the industry and they are unsustainable.  

Over the years, Bradley has absorbed the vast majority of the costs associated with these benefits, but we can no longer do so. We need to make some significant changes to ensure our viability, bring us in line with our peers and bring us up to 2020 standards. 

After much consultation with the Office of Human Resources, our broker First-Mid Insurance Group and the Contractual Arrangements Committee of the University Senate, we will be implementing the following modifications to existing employee benefits:

As an employer that greatly values our employees, these changes are not easy to make and we know they are not welcome by you; however, given the current financial status of the university and after reviewing comparison data from our peer institutions and local employers, we believe these changes are reasonable and responsible.

If you have questions, please contact Bradley’s Department of Human Resources at 309-677-3223.  We will share more information throughout the fall.

Gary Roberts
President and Professor