University News

BOT Approves Union Contractors, Student Health Insurance Changes

March 29, 2013

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MACOMB, IL -- The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees approved contractors' bids for phase one of the University Union renovations, and approved the discontinuation of the self-insured student health insurance program at its March 29 meeting on the WIU-Macomb campus.

The Union renovation will be accomplished in up to five phases. Phase one includes improvements to heating/ventilation, technology, fire protection and ceilings, walls and floors. The board approved a $7 million total bid package for phase one. Contractors approved include Leander Construction, general; Foster Jacob, electrical; Ryan & Associates, heating; Johnson Contracting, ventilation; and Warner Plumbing.

The board also approved to discontinue the self-insured student health insurance program, effective July 31. According to Mary Margaret Harris, director of Beu Health Center, the self-insured student health insurance programs are exempt from the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (PPACA), and as a part of the federal act, students will be required to have minimum essential healthcare coverage by Jan. 1, 2014. A federal amendment is pending that may allow self-insured plans to be recognized as minimum essential coverage, but Harris noted that the plan changes that would be required would be cost-prohibitive and would no longer provide a financially beneficial option program for WIU students as there would be a significant increase in the student benefit fee.

Proposals for a fully insured student health insurance program are being reviewed and evaluated. The board has granted authority to President Jack Thomas to approve a provider following an in-depth review of vendors' technical and financial qualifications by the University's evaluation team.

The board also heard first readings of changes to benefits for coaches and employee benefits (sick leave).

The proposed revision for coaches' benefits includes requiring coaches, who are considered temporary administrative employees, may accrue up to a maximum of 24 vacation days.

The proposed revision for employee sick leave benefits is a result of an external audit, which identified inconsistencies of the current University policy with Board regulations. The proposed revision for administrative and civil services employees require that cumulative sick days shall be used in the following order: pre-Jan. 1, 1984; post-Dec. 31, 1997; Jan. 1, 1984-Dec. 31, 1997.

The board also voted to give the board chair the authority to sell or trade University property near Wigwam Hollow Road, which was appraised at $40,000, to the McDonough Power Cooperative.

In other business, former Trustees Donald "Bill" Griffin and Michael Houston were recognized for their years of service. Griffin had served as a trustee since 2006, while Houston had served as a trustee since 1997.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held June 7 at the WIU-QC Riverfront campus in Moline.

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations