District switches insurance carrier

Humana’s 16% premium hike was too high; contract with GHT carries a 1.7% increase
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Cedar Grove-Belgium School District is switching health insurance carriers to avoid a double-digit percentage premium increase.

The School Board on May 9 unanimously approved Group Health Trust as the district’s health insurance provider.

GHT offered a 1.7% increase in premiums, as opposed to current provider Humana, which called for a 16.5% increase.

The district’s broker, Associated Benefit and Risk Consultants, called that “a ridiculously high number,” Director of Business Services Kris De Bruine told the board.

ABRC sought bids and received them from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Prevea360, WEA Trust and GHT.

She said ABRC determined that Anthem, which uses Aurora doctors, had a reasonable offer but said it often has a rate increase in the second year.

Selecting Prevea360 would mean nearly every district employee would have to find a different doctor.

WEA Trust, she said, offered high premiums.

“Their increase was way higher than Humana’s was,” she said.

That left GHT, a self-funded health trust that uses United Health Care to process its claims and related work. GHT started working with counties in Wisconsin and has expanded to school districts.

“When we sat down with the brokers, GHT was the clear winner,” De Bruine said, “by far and away.”

Besides the 1.7% increase in premiums the first year, GHT agreed to a 12% premium cap for the second year of the plan.

“Twelve percent sounds really high, but no other carrier will give us a rate cap for the second year,” De Bruine said. “That was another thing (ABRC) said. They really want to stick by you.”

She said GHT is also willing to give money — outside of the insurance plan — to the district’s wellness program that offers incentives for healthy lifestyle choices.

“It seems pretty straightforward to me,” board president Chad Hoopman said.

While the board approved GHT as the carrier, clerk Aileen Dahlke said she wanted to discuss other items such as spousal surcharges and cash in lieu for those not taking the plan.

The district pays $2,400 to employees who don’t take its health insurance plan and does not require a spousal surcharge. At a special meeting May 11, the board determined to keep those items the same.

Plan contributions between the district and employees remain unchanged as well. The district pays 95% for base single plans and 85% for base family plans.

GHT premiums are $472 for single people on the base plan (the district pays $448.40) and $436 for a high-deductible plan (district pays all). Family plans charge $1,319 for the base plan and $1,220 for the high-deductible plan (district pays $1,121.14 for each).

The new plan with GHT will start July 1.

In other business, the board this month approved teacher contracts with an across-the-board base wage increase equal to the consumer price index, which was 2.1%, which equates to an $859 raise.

That puts maximum salary available for teachers in the district at $71,206 and the base salary at $40,706.

Beyond the across-the-board raise, the district implemented a performance-based compensation model a couple of years ago. It includes “exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” “developing” and “does not meet expectations.” Different raises are applied accordingly, depending on how a teacher is ranked in six competency areas.

A teacher exceeding expectations in three competency areas and meeting expectations in others receives a $2,659 increase. One exceeding expectations in one or two areas and meeting expectations in others gets $2,359. One meeting expectations in five or more areas and is developing in others gets $2,059.  One meeting expectations in three or more areas and is developing in other areas gets $1,359.



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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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