I guess the grass isn’t always greener on the other side…

Health insurance programs have been a common target for cash-strapped school districts after the end to collective bargaining last year allowed officials to tweak plans and swap providers to balance budgets.

For many Wisconsin school districts, that meant leaving WEA Trust, one of the state’s largest insurers of teachers and school staff. A nonprofit carrier created about 40 years ago by the state’s teachers union, at its peak the trust insured nearly 60 percent of the state’s school districts. But it has lost about 7,000 health plan subscribers in the past 12 months as districts have found more affordable options.

In March, Onalaska School District officials dropped WEA Trust for a dual-choice insurance option offered by Gundersen and Mayo-affiliated HMOs. Cashton School District switched to Gundersen in 2011. The La Crosse School District stuck with WEA Trust only after the insurer agreed to lower its rates.

But now some districts are switching back to WEA Trust for the same reason they left: to save money.

The article goes on to note that many districts that switched away from WEA Trust for their health insurance plans are now seeing their rates increased – in some cases by double digits.

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4 Responses to Some school districts switching back to WEA Trust health insurance

  1. JR says:

    If any of the fools making these decisions had any real world business experience, they would have known that private insurers routinely do this. They offer great rates to get your business, then stick it to you the following year, based on “claims experience.” That’s a lot of hooey because they have access to your group’s claims experience before they quote you. So, it’s merely a way to defer their profit one year, then re-set your rate and reap the harvest going forward. The insurance companies know how reluctant employers are to switch plans because it disrupts the relationships between care providers and patients, as well as being a morale issue in the workplace. I experienced this in my business a couple of times (yeah – slow learner) and realized that the rate reduction offered in year three in response to my threats to move on was simply a reflection of what the premium level should have been all along.

    Those who are entrusted with these decisions in both the public and private sector need to set aside their egos and quit loving the sensation of being able to impose their will on those beneath them in decision hierarchies. They need to move to a process that is inclusive and transparent, involving as many people as possible from the stakeholder population: vendors, management, financial adivsors, and employee groups. That’s the only way to provide a solution that balances everyone’s interests. Providers and insurers need to make a reasonable profit; families need to make a reasonable contribution to the cost and be mindful of utilization; organizations and their leaders need to balance the short term and long term costs with overall financial needs. This isn’t so hard if everyone leaves their weapons at the door when they enter the arena to discuss matters LIKE ADULTS and EQUALS.

  2. jbunny says:

    JR, isn’t that a scam? How can they legally do this? Or I should say, how can the government allow them to do this?

  3. Paul says:

    I said the whole WEA Trust argument was crap from the beginning. The state offers WEA Trust to it’s employees and it is in the lowest cost tier so if Walker had ever looked at his own health insurance options when he was elected he would have been clearly aware from day #1 that it was a straw man argument.

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