We encourage you to share this letter on social media. You can tweet at Chancellor Loftin (@bowtieger) and the University of Missouri (@Mizzou) and use the following hashtags: #GradInsurance #Mizzou
You can link to the letter directly at: cge6069.org/mizzou
We write to you from the Coalition of Graduate Employees, the labor union representing Oregon State University’s (OSU) Teaching and Research Assistants. We have watched this week as our fellow graduate employees at the University of Missouri have had their health insurance subsidies, and thus their financial and physical well-being, taken from them without notice. We write to you to suggest a simple, affordable, and fair solution to provide Missouri graduate employees with quality health insurance.
In the 1990s, OSU graduate employees had no access to health insurance and came together to form a union which has subsequently won health insurance—and much more—for graduate employees at OSU. We have an employer-sponsored graduate employee group plan that is subsidized by our employer and not vulnerable to the IRS’s interpretation of the ACA regarding subsidies to individual plans. We have excellent and affordable health insurance that provides for the health of OSU graduate employees and their families. We strongly encourage you to look to OSU and many other schools around the nation that have established employer-sponsored plans for graduate employees (e.g. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Florida).
Our plan is comparable in cost to the Aetna plan previously subsidized by the University of Missouri. At $3051 annually, the Aetna plan has a total cost of $254.25/month, comparable to the $282.69/month paid by OSU to subsidize 85% of our health insurance. These costs are for a plan with full vision and dental plus a substantially lower deductible ($100) and out-of-pocket limit ($1000) than the Aetna plan. The University of Missouri could likely subsidize an even greater percentage of the premiums for a plan more similar to the existing Aetna insurance plan.
We encourage you and your newly formed task force to consider an employer-sponsored plan as a solution to the health insurance crisis at your University. We urge you to recognize the very real and immediate physical, financial, and psychological danger that University of Missouri graduate employees face and to act with appropriate urgency.
In solidarity with University of Missouri graduate employees,
Coalition of Graduate Employees Executive Council
Kris Osterloh, President
Thomas Morrill, Vice President for Collective Bargaining & Grievances
Vance Almquist, Vice President for Organizing
Stephanie Parreira, Vice President for Communications
Chris Mihiar, Secretary-Treasurer
Clint Mattox, External Relations Chair
Zhian Kamvar, Social Activities Chair