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.