The Chesterfield County School Board has approved the continuation of the current benefit plan and its accompanying rates for the school system’s employees through extending a contract with Anthem Health Plan. Under the new contract, which is to be activated in Jan. 1, 2012, employees will be able to continue their current health benefits without putting a strain on their wallets.
“The proposed rates will maintain the current plan at no increase for employees or for Chesterfield schools,” said Kim Carter, director of Compensation and Benefits for Chesterfield County school employees.
Marshall Trammell, board member for the Bermuda District, said that coming out with a plan that bares no increase on the medical part of the coverage is “significant.”
In the last year of a five-year contract with Anthem Health Plan, the Benefits Committee selected Anthem for a one-year contract with a four-year “renewable,” Carter said, meaning the contract can be renewed each year if at any point there emerges a decision to make changes.
Also, as far dental insurance goes, employees of the school system saw an original 5.9 percent increase in the second year of the their coverage with Delta Dental – also a five-year contract – to continue the current benefit plan. According to Carter, further negotiations resulted in the addition of an enhancement to the plan called “Prevention First,” which provides full-coverage for two routine visits per year that will not be counted toward the annual maximum benefit.
She said the only other benefit change is an increase in the deductible for the premium plan from $50 to $75 for an individual, $150 to $225 for a family, for diagnostic and major services by a non-participating dentist.
“The rate after these changes is at 5.6 percent,” she said. “And just to put that into perspective, that’s about a dollar a month for single coverage, and less than $7 a month for family coverage.”
As the average increase is 9 percent in rates, according to Carter, and with CCPS budgeting only 7.5 percent, Trammell feels their new plan could benefit CCPS in the long run. “So that helps us if we could carry that over for the following year, if there was a hedge against any additional increases …,” he said.
Open enrollment for employees is scheduled for October, and detailed information describing the benefit plans will be distributed to employees to assist them in making an informed decision, Carter said.
“These things don’t happen on their own; it’s through a lot of hard work on two fronts: one is the fact that a lot of wellness programs that have been put into place didn’t really help to keep cost down,” said Trammell. “But number two is the negotiations that our people are having with the contractors. I think that makes a significant difference and is a tremendous benefit to our employees.”
For more information on the issue, contact either the school system’s Community Relations office at 768-4383.