School Officials Hire Consultant to Vet the District's Health Care Options
National health insurance consultant The Horton Group was awarded a two-year contract to help the district navigate the market.
With the district looking to get the best bang for its buck, school officials approved a two-year, $72,000 contract Tuesday with a health insurance consultant to examine health care options for employees.
After Superintendent Blane McCann and Business Manager Mark Boehlke interviewed with a few consultants, they recommended the district contract with Illinois-based consulting firm, The Horton Group, which the School Board approved unanimously.
Over a two-year period, Horton will analyze the district’s current plan; educate officials on health care plan design, major cost drivers, benchmarking and long-term planning; meet with district employees to discuss what is important to them; negotiate with different insurance carriers and ultimately recommend a plan to the School Board. The contract starts Jan. 1.
The consultant says it would prepare requests for proposals to release to insurance carriers by July 1.
Boehlke said at a previous meeting, the district would really benefit from having a consultant help them navigate the health insurance market.
"We know we can save money,” Board President Paul Zovic said.
“It's a matter of ... educating everybody what all these things mean so we can make the best decision."
A couple teachers attending the meeting Tuesday night expressed concern over a change in health care benefits and what it means for their total compensation.
Shorewood High School social studies teacher Debra Schwinn said she hopes the board moves thoughtfully and carefully through the process of vetting health care insurance benefits for district employees.
"There are people that are struggling with the (health care premium) contributions that they are now making," Schwinn said. "There is more than one teacher that I have heard say recently, 'Man, there's not much more that I can take.'"
Board member Colin Plese, Zovic and McCann all stressed that it's very important that the consultant take seriously the input of the district's staff.
The district has hired health care brokers, including Horton, to find plans in the past.