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Trustees make health insurance changes

SoVaNow.com / April 30, 2014
Mecklenburg County School Trustees voted to switch health insurance carriers from Anthem to United Health Care after Nancy Grasso, a benefits advisor at Digital Insurance, said the move would preserve school employee health benefits without forcing the employees to absorb an increase in their annual rates.

In part due to taxes imposed by the Affordable Care Act, Grasso said insurance costs for those on the school system’s insurance were going up around 12 percent over last year’s rates. For an employee with a spouse or child that could be as high as $125.00 per month taken from a paycheck for health insurance.

Grasso said her company was hired by the school system to find a similar insurance product that would not cost as much. After looking at several different options, Digital Insurance recommended that the school system switch from Anthem to United Health, Care, which is the largest health care provider in the nation.

While employees will still see the cost of their health insurance go up, the increase will be less than four percent as opposed to the 12 percent proposed by Anthem.

Before recommending a change Grasso said her company performed a “disruption report.” They looked at how many employees stood to lose their current healthcare provider if a change was made. United Healthcare has doctors available on a national basis and has a “penetration” of doctors in this area of 98 percent, which means that only two percent of doctors are outside United Healthcare’s insurance network.
Grasso said the school had looked into self-funding insurance for its employees, but because of existing large dollar claims, it was not financially feasible for the school to self-insure.

When asked by Trustees Dora Garner and Glenn Edwards why the decision to change insurance networks was not left to the individual teachers, Grasso said, “typically the decision is made based on best financial sense for the group from a consumer friendly position.” According to Grasso, individuals would look at the issue from their own self-interest, and rightfully so – not from the perspective of the group as a whole.

In other business, Trustees voted to sign a resolution commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the historic U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Brown v. the Board of Education. The resolution is meant to:

“inspire all of our nation’s children, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or economic status, to appreciate the value of public education and public service as a means to further the objectives of democracy, justice and equality.

encourages direct student participation through essays, creative arts, lectures, research and writing, community projects, and other activities to foster personal commitment to democracy, and
recognize the contributions of civil rights leaders and volunteers, parents and students be recognized, for it is only through their courage, conviction and sacrifice that Brown v. Board of Education became a reality.”

School Board members approved Trustee Thomas Bullock’s application to again run for the position of Chairman for the Virginia School Board Association regional office. Garner said she was unable to approve the application because of an on the form. Bullock had checked a box claiming he attended a certain meeting, which he had not.

Bullock was not present at the meeting, however, Chairman Robert Puryear asked the Board to approve the application, notwithstanding the error, with the assurance that Bullock would be asked to amend the document before sending it off to the VSBA.

Due to the length of the meeting, Trustees tabled until the next meeting discussion about whether to replace the current school board legal counsel, adopt VSBA school board policies in place of current school board policies, or hear the report on the National School Board Association Conference attended by Trustees Sandra Tanner and Puryear and the Superintendent.

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