YCCD tackles rising health care

Yosemite Community College District officials facing $12 million in looming budget cuts learned this week that charges for employee health insurance coverage are set to climb by $3.5 million in 2010.

That's a 25 percent increase over this year for Anthem Blue Cross coverage, said Roe Darnell, chancellor of the YCCD, parent district of Modesto Junior College and Columbia College. Darnell updated YCCD trustees about the spike at their board meeting Wednesday night.

Darnell has started negotiating with the district's employee unions to share the cost of the increase. Officials have asked other health insurance companies to submit quotes.

"We're analyzing the proposals. They've all come in less, but with suggested changes to coverage," Darnell said Thursday. Changes include requiring a deductible for all employees.

The YCCD's full-time employees are eligible for coverage. The premiums, or cost of the health insurance, for employees and any family members are paid by the district at about $1,050 per person.

Employees are responsible for a minimal co-pay when they visit doctors; one plan includes a deductible and one plan does not.

About 860 employees enroll in the insurance.

Officials learned of the increase in the last few months and must reconcile any change before Jan. 1, Darnell said.

Also Wednesday, Darnell discussed with trustees the selection committee he's setting up to find a successor for MJC President Richard Rose. Trustees are not renewing Rose's contract, which ends in June.

The committee is to have about a dozen members and Darnell said he wants to have a finalist by February.

Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at or 578-2339. Read Hatfield's education blog at