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Nicolet employees will keep same insurance carrier, for now

Nov. 23, 2011

Glendale - Changes could be ahead in health insurance plans for Nicolet High School employees under a proposal discussed Monday.

The district will likely continue offering health and dental benefits through the Wisconsin Education Association Trust at the recommendation of Rae Anne Beaudry, employee benefits insurance consultant with The Horton Group.

After comparing quotes from several other insurance providers, Beaudry said the plans offered by the WEA Trust would bring Nicolet to a break-even point with possible changes to emergency room co-pays and prescription drug coverage. She discussed the proposal with School Board members at a Budget and Finance Committee meeting. If implemented, the changes likely would take effect Jan. 1.

Throughout the review of benefits, Nicolet officials were hoping the district would realize savings, perhaps by switching carriers. School Board member Ellen Redeker pointed out that saving between $200,000 and $300,000 annually was the goal.

"If we're at just the break-even point, that's going to be a big problem for us," she said.

Board member Joe Kasle equated it to "nothing more than treading water."

A year ago, Nicolet received a rate reduction from the WEA Trust. At least one other carrier, the Wisconsin Counties Association's Group Health Trust, did bid in lower than WEA Trust by about $71,000. But Beaudry said the bid was a blanket one that was given without full knowledge of all the claimants within the district.

"The quotes are close here," Business Manager Jeff Dellutri said. "It would take quite a bit of work to determine where (other providers) would wind up. I'm not sure it's really worth it, for the difference."

Dellutri suggested Nicolet might want to look into comparables again in a year, but attempted to dissuade the board from getting into the habit of routinely switching carriers.

"It might be best to stay put at this point," he said.

Although the news was not as good as the board and administrators had hoped, Beaudry said all of the proper protocols were followed in the review process.

"Everything's been done that should be done," she said.

Dellutri said he anticipates meeting with teachers to discuss the changes and bringing a recommendation to the board Monday.

District Administrator Rick Monroe said he is comfortable moving forward.

"I value (Beaudry's) opinion and feel this should be taken up at the next board meeting," Monroe said.

Nicolet currently has 152 employees on its health insurance plan - 143 of them are current, while the other nine are retirees.

On average, Dellutri said Nicolet employees have been paying $307 more in health insurance per month since Act 10 legislation was enacted.

NEXT STEP

WHAT: Nicolet School Board discussion, possible action on proposed employee benefits packages

WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday

WHERE: Nicolet High School, 6701 N. Jean Nicolet Road, Glendale

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