Medical Insurance Update

Dear Staff:

It is hard to believe the 2013-2014 school year is just around the corner.  This year will bring continued efforts to support our staff members with the tools, training and support necessary to continue our improvement journey. 

I am writing in order to be proactive, and prepare for difficult discussions that will need to occur relating to the district’s Self-Funded Health Insurance Plan.  A self-funded Insurance plan is defined as an employee group that insures itself and shares the costs associated with such a plan.   We are fortunate to have a district insurance committee that administers and oversees our self-funded plan.  To their credit, MCSD currently offers an insurance plan richer in benefits than most school districts on the Western Slope.  This includes the Dental & Vision components of our plan. 

Plans of this sort do not come without a price.  In fact, insurance costs for the district alone during the 2012-13 school year were in excess of $3.4 million dollars, which accounts for  6.0% of the district budget.  We also know the costs to the individual continue to rise.  For example, in 2006 the district contribution was $4,704, while the average employee contribution was $1,092.  Compare that to this year, where the district contribution will be $6,096, and the employee contribution will be $1,248.    The costs of our current plan in conjunction with several catastrophic claims this past year have had a devastating impact on our insurance reserves, which are crucial to our self-insurance model.   Given this reality, coupled with the upcoming requirements of the Affordable Care Act, we are concerned that our current insurance plan is not sustainable in its current form.

Please know the School Board, the superintendent and I remain committed to our employees.  We will continue to use the skills and expertise of the insurance committee to work through these challenges. However, hard conversations and decisions lie ahead that will likely affect all of us.  These difficult conversations are not unique to our district. In fact health care remains a critical topic across the country.    I encourage you to stay involved and talk to the insurance committee members about ideas or concerns you may have. 

Kirk Henwood

Deputy Superintendent