KISD trustees approve $1.4 million to supplement employee health insurance

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 30, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Keller district employees will pay more for health insurance under a plan approved by trustees at a July 25 special meeting.

Although health insurance premiums are going up an average of 20 percent, KISD officials are allocating $1.4 million to keep the increase from going 40 to 50 percent higher. Board members approved the expenditure by a 4-1 vote. Board President Jim Stitt voted against the measure, saying he would prefer the district contribute $1.9 million to keep the rise in costs closer to 10 percent. Trustee Craig Allen was absent and Lara Lee Hogg stepped down from Place 5 earlier this month.

Last year, the board approved about $4 million to keep mounting health insurance costs from eroding salaries. Several trustees have said they wanted to phase out supplementing health care for employees beyond the routine portion the district already pays.

At the July 18 board meeting, Trustee Karina Davis said she favored the $1.4 million option because it would keep next year’s premium increase from being too big a jump.

“If we step off too lightly, we put employees in a bind,” Davis said. “It’s easier to swallow 20 percent now and a year from now have a smaller increase.”

KISD offers employees three plans through United Healthcare: a major medical high deductible option, the essential plan with preferred providers and a high option with more coverage. For a single employee on the essential plan, the monthly premium will rise from about $41 to $49; for an employee and family members, the premium will rise from about $607 to $728.

Penny Benz, assistant superintendent of human resources, said the district would offer incentives to employees for using participating physicians. Co-pays would be $10 lower for providers who participate in a United Healthcare network.

“We want to incentivize people to develop healthier lifestyles instead of penalizing people who don’t,” Benz said.

Employee open enrollment runs from Oct. 14 to Nov. 10.

With the $1.4 million pulled from fund balance, the 2013-14 deficit for daily operations is projected to be about $11.3 million. Trustees are set to approve the budget on Aug. 29.

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