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Baker updates employees on health care benefits

September 25, 2015

Photo of file folders for insurance, dental/medical, receipts, etc.President Doug Baker emailed NIU faculty and staff updating the health care benefits situation.

To Our Staff and Faculty:

In my last memo regarding the health care benefits situation in the State of Illinois, I mentioned that we were looking for alternatives for our faculty, staff and their families in the event that reimbursement of benefits by the state insurance plans are curtailed. I am pleased to report that several local financial institutions have already responded, and we expect that others might come forward as community awareness about this issue is increased.

The NIU Employees Federal Credit Union is stepping up to provide low interest credit services for those who might need them sometime in the future for reimbursement of medical expenses. Faculty, staff, student employees and retirees can take advantage of a highly flexible array of loans, from three months in duration to five years. While interest rates will be tiered upward, depending on the duration of the loan, a member of the NIU family can be confident that they will pay from 1 percent to 2 percent less for this loan than what they can get at comparable financial institutions.

Those who apply will have to go through standard credit checks, as with any other loan. If you are not one of the 2,300 members of the credit union, you only need to deposit $25 to join. What’s more, you will know within 24 or 48 hours whether your application is approved. For details on this special loan program, please visit the credit union website at

In addition, Michael Cullen, president and CEO of NB&T, and Tim Struthers, Illinois market president for First National Bank (formerly Castle Bank), along with American Midwest Bank and Fifth Third Bank, have also offered the assistance of their respective banks to NIU employees. These banks will offer short-term loans for handling up-front medical expenses. They will sit down and work with each individual employee and will establish an easy process for securing these loans. Again, the terms will be contingent on each individual’s specific situation.

Our deepest thanks to our friends at the credit union, NB&T, First National Bank, American Midwest Bank and Fifth Third Bank for moving so quickly to help us take steps to remove the uncertainty that I know many of you feel about the current health care benefits situation. Meanwhile, we continue our discussions with other financial institutions, and we encourage lenders to contact us if they are interested in supporting our employers in this manner.

Let me again stress that reimbursements for benefits, while slow, continue to be made by the State of Illinois. We will let you know if there is any news on that front. But for now, I want to assure you that nothing has changed with regard to reimbursement.

We know that this situation has taken its toll on you, and I am hoping that this announcement will provide some reassurance.

Together Forward,