Changes on the horizon for school district healthcare plans

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Tuesday, December 2, 2014 1:30pm
  • News

As structural changes to health care insurance delivery continue to roll out under the Affordable Health Care Act implementation, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District faces several big changes in its self-funded plans.

The district’s Board of Education met Tuesday to discuss options for some of the largest changes on the horizon — including a mandate set to roll out in 2015 that will require the district to offer some type of coverage to all employees who work more than 30 hours a week. For schools, the mandate means that temporary and variable hour employees, like substitute teachers, will have to be offered health insurance coverage.

The district has already implemented several changes to its health insurance plan.

Nearly 100 people were added to the plan when the ACA mandated that dependent children had to remain eligible for coverage up to age 26, said Colleen Savoie, principal account executive at Parker, Smith and Feek, the Anchorage-based brokerage used by the district.

In addition, the district eliminated its $2 million lifetime limit and annual dollar limits, began completely covering preventative health care services, and limited the amount of money that employees can contribute, pre-tax, to flexible spending accounts.

“All of these changes, while they are beneficial for the individuals involved, they do also cost money,” Savoie said.

Parker, Smith and Feek also provided a comparison of medical benefits for public plans between KPBSD and several other institutions including school districts in Juneau, Anchorage, Mat-Su and Kodiak as well as the University of Alaska, the state, the borough and the Central Peninsula Hospital Denali Plan.

While the district’s coverage is comparable to those institutions in some areas, there were others in which it is much more competitive.

For instance, the per-person and per-family deductibles of $200 and $600, respectively, in the school district’s standard plan, are among the lowest among those institutions compared.

For the standard plan through Central Peninsula Hospital, those deductibles are $750 and $1,500 and through the University of Alaska, employees pay $750 and $2,250, according to the report.

The plans are not necessarily directly comparable, however, and some things covered under the district’s plan are not covered under other plans and vice versa.

“Health plans are not easy to compare, they don’t just line up next to each other and say ‘I have this and you have that,’” said assistant superintendent Dave Jones.

Board of education members discussed several recommendations for reducing the growing health care costs the district is facing.

Savoie offered several cost-saving recommendations in her report including that the district separate dental and vision benefits from its basic medical plan, offering a high-deductible health plan and adjusting its contribution rates to discourage employees from participating in the higher cost plans.

“High-deductible plans cause people to think about their health care spending,” Savoie said. “As we all know, when we are spending our own money, we think about it a bit more than when we’re spending somebody else’s money.”

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Kenai Fire Marshal Jeremy Hamilton is seen by one of Kenai Fire Department’s Tower trucks on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022 at Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Get up, get out and get safe’

Kids taught about fire safety as part of prevention effort

Bob Bird, left, chairman of the Alaskan Independence Party, and former Lt. Gov. Loren Leman make the case in favor of a state constitutional convention during a debate in Anchorage broadcast Thursday by Alaska Public Media. (Screenshot from Alaska Public Media’s YouTube channel)
Constitutional convention debate gets heated

Abortion, PFD factor into forum.

Carol Freas (right) helps a voter fill out absentee election materials in Kenai City Hall ahead of the Oct. 4 municipal election on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Absentee voting already underway

Absentee in-person voting has been made available across the borough

Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara
What’s on the ballot: Reapportionment, new field house, school bond

Voters will decide on ballot measures that address schools, public safety and legislative bodies

Cars line up ahead of dismissal at Mountain View Elementary School on Thursday, September 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. A bond package up for consideration by Kenai Peninsula Borough voters on Oct. 4 would fund improvements to the school’s traffic flow. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Parking lot problems

Lack of space for pickup and drop-offs creates traffic jam at elementary school

Soldotna Elementary School Principal Dr. Austin Stevenson points out elements of the school building on Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Aging school on the brink

Renovations are cost prohibitive at Soldotna Elementary

Rep. Mary Peltola, an Alaska Democrat, delivers a speech on the U.S. House floor before Thursday’s vote approving her first bill, establishing an Office of Food Security in the Department of Veterans Affairs. It passed the House by a 376-49 vote, although its fate in the Senate is undetermined. (Screenshot from official U.S. House video)
Poll: Peltola’s a popular pol

Food for vets bill passes House, pollster says she is “the most popular figure in Alaska right now.”

A parking sign awaits the new executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund at its Juneau headquarters, Three finalists will be interviewed for the job during a public meeting Monday by the fund’s board of trustees, who are expected to deliberate and announce the new director immediately afterward. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Interviews, selection of new Permanent Fund CEO set for Monday

Three finalists seeking to manage $73.7B fund to appear before trustees at public meeting in Juneau

Principal Sarge Truesdell looks at cracked siding outside of Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. The siding is one of several projects in a bond package Kenai Peninsula voters will consider during the Oct. 4 municipal election. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Critical needs’: Split siding at SoHi

The damage has been given patchwork treatment over the years

Most Read