School District works to keep health insurance costs down

By Callie Koehne

      Balance was the focus of Monday night’s East Troy School Board meeting. After the board was given all of the updated information in regards to the health insurance benefit options for the 2023-24 school year proposed at the last informational meeting they voted unanimously in favor of moving all their enrolled staff to the base plan of their current provider, WCA-GHT, while keeping an eye to the future, knowing that next year might bring another change for staff and retirees that will move employees to an HSA.

      It was critical for the decision to be made this week. Administrator Chris Hibner reminded the board that If they decided to switch providers, the district could be responsible for any run-out claims, or claims that were incurred on or prior to June 30, but received after that date.

      If the termination letter was not submitted by the end of the business day on May 1, per current contract with WCA-GHT. The delay in decision making would have cost the district thousands of dollars.

      The newly approved base plan will keep staff and retirees with their current provider WCA-GHT for another year, while the district educates staff and retirees on the next possible switch to an HSA plan, a decision that is ever increasing within school districts across the state and has many cost saving benefits for the district.

      With a 12% health insurance increase projected in the School District’s budget because of inflation, any cost above that would be additional expenses that would exceed the budget this spring and would put further strain on the district’s finances.

      Hibner reminded the board that even with the passing of the referendum on April 4, and the promised $3 million per year over the next three years that the district was allotted, ideally leaving a $700,000 to $800,000 positive variance surplus, it is imperative that they work carefully over the next three years and take into consideration the structural deficit they’re facing even with that additional money.

      Hibner said it was understood that maximizing the efficiencies at the earliest possible date was of the utmost importance as the decision about insurance was a key component to saving costs and maintaining the projected budget, while also providing a quality product to staff that will allow the district to keep those employees and attract more of the same caliber. It remains an increasingly delicate balancing act to maintain East Troy’s schools and staff and provide the very best for students while making sure the schools will be able to remain functioning in the years to come. The board spoke tirelessly about the options and their benefits and challenges to make the most fiscally responsible decision with the least impact on staff.

For the full story, please see the print edition of the East Troy Times or News.

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