Washington School District employees will see a change in insurance companies, but not an increase in premiums or costs.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve changing providers from Anthem to United Health Care.

Working with Schroepfer Bauer, the district was able to create a new plan that would save money. The plan will help the district see some savings that will help pay for salary raises.

“Schroepfer Bauer has negotiated some great rates and we will see a 0 percent increase in premiums and health insurance costs and also will work to partially self-fund our plans,” Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer said. “There will be some minor adjustments to work through, but the open enrollment and education meetings for our employees will start very soon.”

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Brendon Mahon said the new plan with United Health Care will feature a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). The HRA reimburses employees for medical expenses and helps cover the difference between the old and new out-of-pocket expenses.

For example, the current plan calls for a maximum out-of-pocket limit at $2,000. The new plan rises that limit to $5,000, but the district will be covering the difference, Mahon said.

“Their (employees) maximum out of pocket is going to remain the same,” Mahon said. “Because we have such a decrease in premiums, we’re taking that difference and we are now funding the difference.”

From the employees’ point of view, they won’t see any major differences, he said.

“The biggest change is going to be we switched companies,” Mahon said.

In addition to changing its primary insurance company, the district will now use Lincoln Financial for ancillary benefits, including dental plans. The switch will lead to a $35,000 in savings.

Mahon said the district will brief the employees on the changes so everyone is on the same page. VanLeer said she feels the news is positive for employees.

“I feel like we have managed our health care costs quite well over the last few years and that is a win-win for everyone,” VanLeer said.

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GN - SCH Insurance - 072917