Tuesday, March 16, 2004


Take another look at the health insurance rates for Nebraska educators participating in the statewide risk pool that have been set for next school year: http://www.educatorshealthalliance.org/covrates.htm

If a district in this pool can get its employees to increase the deductible from $250 a year to $500 a year, it'll save that district $394 a year, per employee, in premiums.

Multiply that times the number of employees in that district, and you can see that tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars could be saved in Nebraska from this one modest move.

Talk about a sacred cow: essentially, that means that Blue Cross / Blue Shield has been charging districts $394 a year for that "extra" $250 per employee in deductibles. Wish MY business had moooooves like that. You don't SUPPOSE it's time to bid out educator health insurance, do you? Hmmm?

But here's what really has that "eau de feedlot" -- educators will SQUAWK about having to go to that "higher" $500 deductible. They'll say taxpayers are beating up on them again.

Oh, yeah? Name another workgroup in either the private sector or the public sector that has a better deal than a $250 deductible and a 10 percent copay, with a max per employee out-of-pocket of $2,000. I'm not sure educators have any idea how good they've got it. Sigh.

We're talkin' 1960s-level insurance here, folks -- cushy, cushy, cushy. Meanwhile, the health-care industry is notorious for NOT holding the line on spending and they're charging 2004-05 prices, for sure. Ouch!

A wise school board will order up a chart on the health insurance programs of neighboring and comparable private-sector and public-sector workgroups, and keep their fingers on that line in the contract during union negotiation time.

The alternative is to do away with district-provided health insurance altogether. And that might be the answer, with compensatory arrangements to the salary scale, of course.

What? No more "nearly free" health insurance?

Bet the very idea makes 'em have a COW.

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