Health insurance premiums topic of Trenton R-9 Board of Education meeting

Health insurance premiums topic of Trenton R-9 Board of Education meeting

Health insurance costs will be going up in the Trenton R-9 School District for the next year. How much of an increase though remains to be determined by the board of education.

A special meeting was called for noon Friday with the intention of deciding the health insurance issue. However, moments before the meeting began, it was reported the insurance carrier, Blue Cross Blue Shield at Kansas City, submitted an option that appears to offer a twenty three percent increase in the premium.

Superintendent Dan Wiebers told the board the initial renewal from Blue Cross Blue Shield was a fifty three percent increase. Then there was another option for a twenty nine percent increase; before today’s submission that amounts to a twenty seven percent increase. The latter two options included different deductibles and maximum out of pocket expenses which are to be studied by officials and Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance agent, Justin Mitchell.

As a result, the board of education voted to table the health insurance issue until the May 10th regular meeting. Once a new premium is determined, the expense will be included in the budget being prepared for the fiscal year beginning July 1st.

The school district pays 100 percent of an employees health insurance.

The current premium is four hundred forty five dollars a month per employee. Coverage requested by a spouse or family is the employees’ responsibility to pay. Retired school teachers also have the choice of continuing health insurance coverage with Trenton R-9 as long as they pay their own premiums.

Regardless of which option is selected, the new insurance premium is projected to be over 100 dollars higher – with a larger deductible and out of pocket expense when compared to current coverage.

It was indicated at today’s meeting that the primary reason for such a significant increase in the insurance renewal was the total number of dollars paid out in claims was greater than the amount of premiums paid in. Agent Justin Mitchell told the board the district has experienced 18 major claims during the year. He also noted there’s been quite an increase in individuals, like spouses and children, being added to the employees’ coverage due to what he described as the “attractive” current rate.

Superintendent Wiebers reported one hundred seventy six employees with insurance coverage are collectively costing the school district over nine hundred forty one thousand dollars over twelve months.

He did indicate having four fewer employees for the next fiscal year would be a “savings” of about twenty five thousand dollars (when calculated at the current rate)

Knowing there likely would be an increase in premiums, Wiebers said the health insurance was put out for bids but no others came in; leaving the R-9 district and local agent Justin Mitchell, to negotiate with the current carrier, Blue Cross Blue Shield.

A recommendation on employee health insurance is now expected at the May 10th board meeting.