The Brainerd School District may see a 6 percent increase in health insurance premium costs next school year.
The district's Finance/Insurance Committee recommended Wednesday that the Brainerd School Board approve the increase. Brainerd Business Manager Steve Dickinson said the amount of the increase is good news for the district and its employees.
"All district staff are to be congratulated for their continuing good consumerism, knowledge of the health care industry and fitness efforts," he said. "All of these things are contributing to the outstanding performance of the pool."
Dickinson said the district's fund balance for the insurance pool is estimated to be $1.55 million by June 30. This is about $210,000 short of the district's target reserve amount to have its reserves at 25 percent of the expenses.
With a proposed 6 percent premium increase and a projected 11.6 percent health care cost increase, the district would be $124,000 short of its target reserve amount.
The district has a self-insured health insurance plan through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota and offers three different deductible plans. The district and the unions have or will be negotiating to get rid of its Plan C, which has a $1,000 deductible, to save money.
A majority of the employees, or 633, are on the Triple Gold Plan, which has no deductible. A person on the single Triple Gold Plan currently pays $409 per month and would pay $427 per month next school year if the school board approved the increase. The total premium of the family Triple Gold Plan currently is $967 per month and would be about $1,025 next school year.
Dickinson said the health insurance coverage did not change. He said the recommendation of the 6 percent increase came after meeting with the health care provider and its third party health insurance consultant, Pederson/Beltz Associates of Eagan.
Last year's premiums increased 9 percent from the previous year.
Dickinson said since July 1996, Brainerd has had fewer claims than other school districts in the state. It only matched the state average two times in the past eight years.
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