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Assessing the actual cost of partner benefits at Michigan St.

With the GOP lawmakers and Attorney General raising concerns about the costs of the Michigan Civil Service Commission decision in January to grant health benefits to non-related adults and their dependents living with state employees, the experience of Michigan State University might actually be quite informative.

MSU has approximately 11,100 employees, according to MSU officials. That’s approximately 4,900 faculty and academic staff; approximately 6,200 support staff employees.

The university has 67 contracts extending benefits to “other eligible individuals” and their dependents. Those contracts cover 93 human beings. Providing those benefits costs approximately $370,000.

For those who are counting, the financial cost that Rep. Chuck Moss said makes it hard for GOP lawmakers to keep cash in the university kitty, a little math. According to MSU’s budget department, MSU spends $67 million on healthcare coverage for its employees. So, the total amount of that budgetary cost for other eligible individuals is .005 percent of the total healthcare coverage expenses for MSU.

Attorney General Bill Schuette filed suit last week challenging the partner benefits approval from January. In the meantime, last week Thursday, the Michigan House approved an education omnibus budget bill, which included a five percent cut to state funding for colleges and universities which continue to offer partner benefits.

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