Manatee School board to discuss health insurance during Tuesday workshop

mdelaney@bradenton.comJuly 7, 2014 

BRADENTON -- The Manatee County school board will hear different ways the district has been working to control and improve the health insurance offered to employees during a board workshop.

Board officials will hear from members of the Health Insurance Committee. The board will also hear from representatives from Compass, a company that helps coordinate health insurance services. The district's committee is recommending the district contract with Compass to increase transparency.

The workshop starts at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at the school district administration building, 215 Manatee Ave. W.

"The district needs to provide attractive healthcare options to recruit the best and brightest talent, as competitive healthcare options are considered part of the total compensation package when encouraging world class candidates to accept positions in our school district," said Odesa Stapleton, district executive director of human resources.

Compass, based in Dallas, has more than 1,700 clients, including retail and technology businesses, according to a presentation to be given to the board. Company officials say they can help the district lower year-to-year claim costs.

"The Compass partnership will focus on wellness and transparency, while encouraging employees to engage in preventative measures which could reduce claims over time," Stapleton said.

A concierge service offered by Compass would help get employees more involved in their decisions and would lead to smarter healthcare decisions, according to the presentation.

The company averages a six to one return on investment rate and 25 percent engagement for average customers, according to the presentation.

Overall, Compass expects

the district can potentially save $1.8 million in claims cost in the first year of working with the company.

The board will not take action at the workshop.

The Health Insurance Committee will also present an overview to the board of the district's health care costs.

Committee officials expect to need a 20 percent total funding increase for 2015 to fund expenses and reserves, according to a presentation to be given to the board. The projections are based on no change in benefits, no change in the number of people covered and an expected 8 percent inflation cost based on medical trends.

So far in 2014, the revenue paid into the health insurance fund have exceeded the district claims by about $1 million, an increase over the 2013 average.

In 2013, the claims for the district were $4.3 million higher than in 2012 and revenue decreased by $800,000 in 2013 compared to 2012. The number of large claims, classified as more than $50,000, increased by 36 percent in 2013 compared to 2012 and the expenses incurred by those large sums increased 63 percent, or $3.8 million, in 2013 as compared to 2012.

The district currently works with Blue Cross Blue Shield as the medical administrator and Catamaran is the district's pharmacy benefits manager. Three of the district's four current health plans have been offered since 2008. A fourth plan was offered beginning in 2012. The last premium increase for the district was in June 2012.

Lesli Strickland, the employee benefits manager for the district who is slated to give the district presentation, was not available for comment.

Meghin Delaney, education reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7081. Follow her on Twitter @MeghinDelaney.

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