Health insurance changes approved by the Platteville School Board Monday night, which are projected to save school district employees money, may also pave the way for pay increases next school year.
The school board approved establishing health insurance deductibles of $1,000 for single people and $2,000 for families — all of which will be paid for by the school district.
The change will save the school district almost $38,000 from continuing the current coverage from DeanCare and Medical Associates. That in turn could fund an estimated $20,590 in pay increases for the 2016–17 school year, based on a $250 per cell increase for teachers and 25-cents-per-hour increases for hourly staff.
At the same time, the new deductibles are estimated to save DeanCare-covered employees $128.05 per year for single policies and $332.92 for family policies, and Medical Associates-covered employees $89.86 for single policies and $233.83 for family policies.
While all of the deductibles would be paid by the school district now, Platteville Public Schools superintendent Connie Valenza said that may not be the case in the future.
“We do budget on an annual basis, and if something changed significantly for us, that would be possible,” she said. “That’s not our intent.”
Valenza said the high-deductible policies were the result of input from school district employees during discussions of the 2016–17 school district budget. She said 81 percent of employees who attended informational sessions and 65 percent who did not favored changing to the high-deductible insurance plan.
The School Board also approved giving retirees under the previous retirement system the option to use their health insurance foundation funds to pay deductibles. Retirees under the old system would save $642.88 each year from their foundation amount under a DeanCare policy, but those covered by a single policy would pay $83.48 more per year.
Recent retirees receive a cash benefit over five years from the school district that retirees can use to purchase school district health insurance.