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Lincoln University has accepted higher health insurance premiums for 2022, but employees won't see the rise in costs next year.

In a brief meeting Tuesday, the Lincoln University Board of Curators approved a renewed contract with insurance provider Cigna, which raised the cost of health insurance premiums 10.3 percent for 2022.

The board also chose to absorb the increase in health insurance premiums, taking the money from other budgets to cover the estimated $210,941 in total additional cost each year.

The university is looking to pay an additional $60.20 per employee per month under the new plan starting in January.

The university currently pays for the entire low-cost option, which is $629.87 per employee each month.

Cigna provided the university two options, and Lincoln chose the revised renewal option, which raised the employee-only portion of the low cost option to $690.07.

Employees will continue to fully pay for vision and dental insurance plans as usual.

Lincoln sought bids from three companies, Curator Richard Popp said. He said the other providers either didn't submit a bid or weren't competitive.

Sandy Koetting, LU vice president for administration and finance, said the other plan offered by Cigna would have raised the out-of-pocket costs for employees in claims.

Lincoln interim President John Moseley said the measure shows the university's commitment to faculty and staff.

"We've talked the talk but we're walking the walk," Moseley said. "We're showing that we are committed and we do appreciate what it is that they're doing."

In June, the Board of Curators approved a 3 percent pay raise for university employees.

Tuesday's discussions around absorbing the increase in health insurance premiums often circled back to wanting employees to see the full effect of that pay raise.

Employees will likely pay a share of the increase in 2023, however.

"We're doing everything that we can to support our employees and this is another benefit that we're sharing at this time," Board President Victor Pasley said. "Next year, it's probably going to be a case where they are going to have to share it."

With enrollment and tuition dollars down from past years, Moseley said the campus community will need to be part of the effort to turn the tide and help bring revenue back to the budget.

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