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House Committee Looks at Saving Schools Money on Insurance

The House Ways and Means Committee has begun consideration of a measure which aims to save school corporations money on health insurance.

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The bill would allow schools to keep their current insurance programs.

The House Ways and Means Committee has begun consideration of a measure which aims to save school corporations money on health insurance. LaPorte Rep. Tom Dermody’s bill would allow any school corporation currently paying less than 110% of the cost of the state’s health care plan to keep its current insurance scheme intact. Any corporation still above that threshold by February 1st of 2012 would be required to submit a plan for how it will lower its fees or recoup the necessary funds.

If, as of February 1st of 2013, that plan has failed to bring the corporation into compliance, all employees would automatically be switched to the state’s plan.

Dermody, a former LaPorte Community School Board President, says he hopes to avoid forcing educators onto state insurance, adding that he estimates less than a third of the state’s school corporations are in any such danger…

“We have estimated,” he says, “probably 200 schools that are doing the right thing. There’s probably 60, 70, 80 schools that need to continue to improve or find new ways to do things regarding health insurance,”

Austin Rep. and Crothersville Schools Superintendent Terry Goodin asked Dermody if the bill takes into account how far corporations stretch their dollars. Dermody says the bill only considers total cost to the corporation, and does not attempt to quantify how much coverage an individual corporation’s plan might buy.

Among the suggestions offered to schools needing to bring their costs down are eliminating the practice of offering school board members insurance for a yearly cost of a dollar and triennial audits to determine if anyone currently receiving insurance through a school corporation should not be.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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