Court approves settlement between UI, retirees

Court approves settlement between UI, retirees
MOSCOW - A settlement between the University of Idaho and more than 250 retired employees was approved in Latah County 2nd District Court Thursday by Judge Jeff Brudie.

The retirees filed a lawsuit challenging adjustments made by the university in 2007 to their medical insurance costs and life insurance benefits made after they entered into early retirement programs in 1998 and 2002.

Under the settlement, the retirees are guaranteed that medical insurance premiums for the traditional health coverage offered by the University to them will not increase by more than ten percent over the previous year for the remainder of their lives. Also, their life insurance will not decrease below the current benefit which is a maximum of $10,000.

The terms of the settlement were short of what retirees had hoped for, but it means they won't have to pay the university's attorney's fees.

The retirees had originally contended that the school agreed to pay the full tab for medical and life insurance premiums, but later revised the benefits. But the school maintained, and Judge John Stegner later agreed, that it had reserved the right to change the benefits.

"This has not been an easy decision to make," said Wileen Anderson, one of the UI retirees. "However, we are convinced that, under all of the circumstances, it is the best for both retirees and the university to bring this case to a mutually acceptable conclusion."

"The university values the contributions of all of its retirees and is pleased that the litigation has been brought to an ending everyone supports," said UI spokesperson Tania Thompson.

(AP contributed to this story.)