Health insurance update for school employees

The Review Committee and School Board have chosen Coventry Health, formerly known as Southern Health, to insure school employees. The process has been grueling, as the board has made the switch to a self-funded insurance program. They believe that this insurance company has the best options and rates for school employees and their families. There are currently three different insurance plans available under Coventry Health that employees will be able to choose from. A fourth plan is in the works and will be presented in August, according to Ed Breslauer, director of finance.

Although the new insurance plan may be appealing to younger, single teachers in the school system, according to Breslauer, those with families are unlikely to be thrilled with the new plan. While the main plan for a single employee will actually decrease in monthly cost from $64.74 to $63.53 (only by $1.21, but a drop nonetheless), the family plan will increase from $556.14 per month to $896.11 per month. That’s an annual increase of $4,079.64, with a total annual cost of $10,753.32 to the employee, according to a spreadsheet handed out at the meeting.

The contract that the School Board will enter into with Coventry Health will last for one year. The health insurance plan will be reevaluated for the fiscal year 2013, as it is every year, according to Breslauer.

While Breslauer was able to present definite costs to the School Board, he did not broach the subject of what exactly employees will be getting from these insurance options. However, he did say that the plans were almost exactly comparable to what employees were receiving in the fiscal year 2011.

Gena Keller, superintendent for the county, addressed budgeting concerns expressed by the public by saying, “It’s more complicated than just cutting something … It’s absolutely unnerving to me for someone to say, ‘You have the resources.’”

She explained that the funding issues that the School Board is facing are not something that a quick fix can mend. “It is not a ‘just do this’ operation,” said Keller.

Throughout the evening, the emphasis continued to return to the students. “Children are our ultimate product,” said Breslauer. “Grown-ups are going to sacrifice for kids.”

The meeting closed with comments from various members of the school board. “I sincerely wish we had better news to give you,” said Brenda Pace. “It has indeed been a disheartening year for all of us.”

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