BRADENTON -- Facing a $10 million deficit for health insurance costs, Manatee County School board members sought insight and input from six health insurance industry professionals Thursday.
“We need the benefit of the best advice we can get,” board member Karen Carpenter said. “We need everyone at the table. We have a big burden right now. The system has had some problems and we need to fix it.”
The six groups who offered presentations to school board members were BB&T Insurance Services Inc. of Bradenton; Boyd Insurance of Bradenton; Des Champs & Gregory Inc. of Bradenton; HNI Risk Services Inc. of New Berlin, Wisc.; MGA Insurance Group of Lakewood Ranch; and Manatee County Rural Health Services of Parrish.
School board members chose not to make any decisions on the district’s health insurance. Instead, they wanted to hear from the health insurance committee and the risk manager first.
“When you’re looking at a $35 million decision you need to take your time,” Schools Risk Manager Forrest Branscomb said to school board members.
Representatives from each group were asked seven questions to present to board members.
The questions included: the groups’ qualifications in regards to healthcare acquisitions; references for clients; services that the group could provide the school system; and recommended changes to the school district’s plan benefit design.
Board members want to have changes to the school district’s health insurance plan in place for the 2013 benefit enrollment period. There may be a problem in making changes to the district’s insurance contract since it ends in December 2012.
Each group offered suggestions for the district. Those suggestions included getting a partner/advocate to negotiate insurance contracts. Representatives stressed the importance of keeping school employers as customers. Each representative also talked about designing a “rewards-incentive platform” for school employees.
“My concern has always been (that) we didn’t have an agent,” board member Julie Aranibar said. “We didn’t have the support in place.”