State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

State College Area School District Considers New Health Insurance Carrier

by on March 26, 2012 11:32 PM

Health insurance was the hot topic at Monday's State College Area School Board meeting, as members listened to proposals for several different proposals for medical and prescription-drug coverage.

Once every three years, the district seeks new bids for health insurance carriers, and this years' plan is part of an effort to drop costs by potentially, thousands of dollars, according to a district document.

Rob Glus from Conrad Siegel Actuaries was front and center to present the proposals. He did open with a cautionary addendum: The total savings the proposal suggest could end up being less, because "the potential savings shown from the lowest cost provider under the fully insured arrangement are for the total costs of health insurance, including health insurance that is paid for by individuals on COBRA and other direct pay circumstances."

Currently, the school board's provider is Capital Blue Cross, but Glus recommended members get on board with HealthAmerica. The latter's total cost for medical and prescription-drug coverage was significantly less than the second-lowest proposed provider, Geisinger.

Sunday's preview has more details of the numbers.

Five proposals were presented to the board, including a renewal of the current provider, Capital Blue Cross. Highmark Blue Shield, HealthAmerica, United HealthCare and Geisinger Health Plan were also detailed in this document from the school board's website.

  • Highlight of the proposal: Doctor access would not face many, if any, dramatic alterations if the school board opted to go with the cheapest proposal, that being from HealthAmerica.
  • Downside of the proposal: Even with the money the board stands to save going with HealthAmerica, cost increases in later years would still exceed maximum new revenue expected to be allowed under state-imposed tax-increase limits.

The proposal to make the switch to HealthAmerica will be brought back before the board in early April as a recommended action, but would not go in effect until July 1.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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