Editor's Note: This article was updated Tuesday evening to include a link to the health care provider information that was posted on the school district website.
The Menomonee Falls School Board is hoping to save big dollars by moving toward a self-funded insurance plan with its current provider, Humana.
The School Board voted to move forward with Humana as the insurance provider starting in 2013. The district hopes to save roughly $600,000 through by switching to a self-funded system with Humana, but administrators are working under a time crunch to get proper approvals before moving forward.
The board compared the rates of three different insurers: Anthem, United Healthcare (UMR) and Humana. The district went with its current provider, but will switch to a self-funded model. Sticking with Humana will save the district $400,000, and another $200,000 could be saved after a specific plan is chosen for staff.
The vote on determining the provider on Monday received some criticism from Falls resident Annette Virlee.
“I’m surprised that with all the commotion and community unrest over the contract that was signed – and one of the big issues in the community was the health care plan – why would you would not present any of that information to the community before a vote?” Virlee asked. “It was a really big deal for those who were here.”
The board chose to stick with Humana at the strong recommendation of Director of Human Resources Christiane Standlee. The board later went into closed session to chose the specific plan with Humana. The board had three options of heal care plans to choose from. The specific health plan chosen will go for a discussion at the next meeting on Oct. 22, and a vote will be taken on Oct. 29.
“Quite frankly, we are just voting on the provider here and not plan detail. We are hired to make these decisions for the district,” said board member Gina Palazzari. “It’s not that you throw the doors open and the public has to be involved in the minutia of what we’re deciding.”
Although board members acknowledged they were moving quickly, the price of inaction was costly. Superintendent Patricia Greco said delaying a vote on the provider and plan would cost the district some $80,000 in savings. The district is approaching year’s end, and contracts and transitions typically take some 90 days to turn around.
Standlee said information about the provider would be posted on the school district website on Tuesday. That way, residents would have two weeks to review the information before a vote. Information on the health care provider and the decision analysis can be found on the district's website. Information on the specific plan is still being determined.