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School District Saves Big Bucks By Sticking With Humana

In move that could net $600,000 in savings the School Board agrees to stick with Humana as it moves toward a self-funded health insurance for staff. They later met in closed session to discuss the specific plan to take to a vote Oct. 22.

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.

Bert October 10, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Craig - spouting off stuff you hear on talk radio doesn't substitute for "thinking". I've never seen you post an original thought on this board, just Belling and Sykes regurgitation. Second, MFSD switched from WEA trust without Act 10. It did that under a negotiated contract with the teachers. IF the district had decided to use Act 10 as the basis for switching, rather than working to gain the agreement of the union, then those savings would be at risk if and when Act 10 is ruled unconstitutional. Whether you believe that will happen or not, it is certainly possible. What you can "thank" Walker for is stupidly discriminating between those unions who supported his campaign and those that didn't. That discrimination is the basis of the current lawsuit, as well as a potential gender discrimination suit that will surely follow. You can genuinely thank the board for achieving huge savings through negotiation rather than fiat, because the negotiated savings will stand even when the law falls.
Carl Engelking October 10, 2012 at 10:28 PM
I will say, since that contract was passed, attendance at School Board meetings has been Annette Virlee and Michele Divelbiss. Other than that - staff or folks getting recognition from the board at the start of the meeting. Lots and lots of empty chairs there. Village Board is the same, unless there is a large audience that watches from home.
Let's Roll October 10, 2012 at 10:52 PM
To address WEACHater: The number you are looking for is $600K times the number of years they used WEAC instead of going with a competitive bid. So, would that be 10 - 15 years? So, congrats to this school board and superintendent for finally making this happen. My question would be, who were the advocates and who were the obstructionists? The obstructionists are the ones who should be tarred and feathered! Now that the facts and savings are a matter of public record. Who wants to admit they wanted to keep WEAC "Trust"? Carl, large audiences and cable access are never used in the same sentence. FYI
WEACHATER October 10, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Ok so lets ask Bert and Gina a question. What caused us to change our insurance carrier in the first place? Was it Act 10? Why were we overpaying for so long, and what was it that made us finally get away from WEA Trust?
Craig October 11, 2012 at 01:49 AM
Berty: Patch did a story covering the contract vote. Do a little work on your own and look for it. Hint: It was also a video for you to look at in case you do not understand the big words...The crowd cried shame shame! Something you should identify with. I don't listen to Belling or Sykes, mainly because I do not have the time. Even with all the time in the world, I would never listen to a puppet like you. By the way, do you have a slit in the back of your neck or is someone pulling strings for you?

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