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The Grapevine is administered by the UAF Marketing and Communications Department and was designed to dispel rumors, clarify misconceptions and clear up misunderstandings about UAF topics of a general nature to improve communication between the administration and the UAF community.

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April 22, 2015 -- Healthyroads sync


Both myself and my spouse have completed activities (dentist appointment and biomedical screening in our cases) that haven't synced yet with healthy roads. I was told that there would be additional data feeds in April to try to show the most up to date point information. 

What happens if there is some mistake and our activities never sync? The deadline is coming up and I'm worried if I don't start making phone calls I might lose the chance to "dispute" it. Should I start making those calls now?


From Sara Rodewald, Program Manager, Healthyroads

Healthyroads has data feeds set-up with both your medical (Premera) and vision (VSP) providers. We receive these on a monthly basis after both your provider submits the claim and your insurance has paid for it. The routine exams we are set-up to capture are:
-annual wellness visit
-adult immunizations
-annual dental exam
-annual vision exam

If you have had one of these exams and it was billed through Premera/VSP and have received your EOB (explanation of benefits) and still aren’t seeing it, I can research. Send me an email letting me know what is missing and the dates you had them. I can then research with Premera/VSP and see what occurred. If it won’t come through a feed, I can then grant a waiver for that exam.

If you had any of these annual exams and they were not billed through Premera/VSP, I just need an EOB or something stating you had an exam. Please send those to me also and ensure that it displays the date and what type of exam it was. I can then at that point grant a waiver for that exam.

April 22, 2015 -- Bike racks on shuttles


Will the new electric bus be equipped with a bike rack! I want to ride to work but not up the hill? I think a bike shuttle combination would make a great sustainable combination!


From Sarah Mousseau, Transportation manager

We are exploring the possibilities of placing a bike rack on the bus. The bus is pretty small and has a large amount of glass so finding a rack that works and keeps passengers and bicycle safe is a little bit of a challenge.

April 22, 2015 -- Summer shuttle schedule


I've heard different rumors about the Shuttle system this summer and was just wondering if you could clarify what the Shuttle schedule will be like this summer.  I work with students coming to campus for visits and we always recommend they park in the Nenana lot and use the shuttle.  This information would be great to know since we converse with these students 2-3 weeks before their campus visit.


From Sarah Mousseau, Transportation manager

For this summer, there will only be one running shuttle, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
From 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. the bus will be on the Nenana Route, (a 5-7 minute loop from the Nenana Parking lot bus shelter to the South Wood Center bus stop and back);
From 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. the bus will be on the Yukon Route, (a 12-14 minute loop from the North Wood Center bus stop up Yukon Drive to West Ridge and back);
From 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. it will switch back to the Nenana Route

April 16, 2015 -- Program cuts


How does cutting low-enrollment programs that don't cost money (because the required courses are used to satisfy the requirements of higher-enrollment programs) save the university money?

For example, several programs offer a BA degree along with other degrees (eg a BS), to allow the occasional student to double-major easily. How does cutting these programs (or telling them to boost enrollment or face cuts down the road)---given that no courses are offered solely for the benefit of this program---do anything for the university but make it less-desirable for some students?


From Susan Henrichs, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

There are several reasons to eliminate such programs.  First, the ones that are being suspended or eliminated do cost the university some money; we are required to carry out periodic program review, student learning outcomes assessment, and reporting to the Board of Regents and Legislature for every program that we offer.  These reports take faculty and staff time to prepare.  Second, nearly all such programs being selected for elimination have extremely small enrollments, generally less than five students per year and often only one or two.  Most such students could still pursue a similar course of study through the Interdisciplinary program, if they wish. 

However, there is a more important reason in several cases, and that is that the graduation rate from some of these programs is extremely low.  The program review committees and Cabinet thought it better to not enroll students in programs that are rarely completed, because our goal as a university is not just enrollment, it is graduates.


April 3, 2015 -- Medical premiums


 I hear rumors that employee medical premiums will be significantly increased for FY16.  When will this information be made available? Rates


From Erika Van Flein, Director of Benefits

Rates will be going up, but how significantly depends on the plan and what dependents are covered on the plan. Health plan costs have continued to increase, so even with the plan changes we've made recently we're not immune to health cost inflation. We are also reducing the employer subsidy for spouse coverage so it will cost slightly more to cover the spouse than the employee.

Because the university a self-funded plan, and our costs are directly related to our claims costs. As such, we don't pay "premiums" but share the projected net plan costs with employees with the university covering 82% and employees as a group picking up 18 percent. Final rates for FY16 should be posted early next week on the benefits web site, and open enrollment is from April 15 to May 15.


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