By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The cost to provide health insurance for Madison-Plains Local Schools employees is going up dramatically.
The district’s annual insurance renewal date is Oct. 1. The district’s current carrier, Medical Mutual, submitted a bid for the next 12 months that is 46 percent higher than what the district paid last year. On Sept. 17, the school board voted to switch carriers, accepting a bid from Anthem that is 36 percent higher than what the district paid last year.
District Treasurer Tim Detwiller chalks the increase up to two factors. One, the district had several large claims this year, going 19 percent over the maximum amount that Medical Mutual estimated the district would use. Two, fees and taxes associated with the Affordable Care Act are adding to costs.
The 36 percent increase in costs amounts to $390,000. The district only budgeted for $140,000 in health insurance increases. The school board will hold a special meeting to determine how the $250,000 difference impacts the district’s five-year financial forecast and 10-year financial plan. The five-year forecast must be submitted to the state in October.
The special meeting is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 8 in the central office.
The recommendation to switch to Anthem came from the district’s insurance committee, which meets in August and September each year to review options. In light of the big increase for next year and probable increases in the future, the committee has decided to meet quarterly to explore additional options.