Archive for Thursday, November 16, 2006

District changes health insurer

November 16, 2006

The Lansing School Board has approved a change in employee health care plans that district officials expect will expand base coverage at no cost to employees and net a $67,000 annual savings for the district.

At its monthly board meeting Monday, Nov. 13, the board voted to change the health insurance provider from Humana to United Health Care for calendar year 2007.

The board approved the change after Lansing schools superintendent Randal Bagby made the recommendation.

"You've heard me speak about health insurance quite a bit in the last two and a half years. At the last board meeting, I mentioned to you that I think we need to take more of an aggressive approach," he said.

Part of that approach, Bagby said, included working closely with board treasurer Christine Smith and health insurance brokers to find the best deal.

"These costs, at a considerable savings, are for a plan with United Health Care that was the same as our buy-up plan with Humana," Bagby said, adding that the new plan was equal to the coverage in the second buy-up plan with Humana.

"What an employee was paying 70-some dollars for to buy up, is now available in the base plan through United Health Care," he said. "A lot of the employees who didn't buy up are going to get an increase, get a more richer plan, for the same amount of money. There's the benefit to the employees."

Bagby said the benefit for the school district would be an annual savings of about $67,000 after the district's contribution.

In addition, Bagby said, United Health Care will provide an employee assistance program, which could yield an even greater annual savings than the $67,000 he expects from the change.

After the meeting, school board president Shelly Gowdy called the new plan a "win-win."

"The teachers and all of the district employees will be getting a better product, a better health care plan, and it will save the district money as well," she said.

The change will not affect health insurance premiums, which will remain at $40 a month for singles, $310 a month for an employee and child, $380 a month for an employee and spouse and $550 a month for an employee and family.

Office visit co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance will decrease with the new plan, while co-pays for urgent care and emergencies will increase by $25 per visit.

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