In Your School Board Review: KASB Risk Management’s Health Insurance Consulting Saves Districts MoneyLeah Fliter
KASB Risk Management’s newest service — Health Insurance Consulting — is saving school districts money.
Sublette USD 374 Superintendent Rex Bruce said use of the health consultant saved the district $45,000.
“The process was easy and I recommend it to any district wanting to obtain the lowest possible rates,” Bruce said.
For Sublette, KASB’s health insurance consulting partner McInnes Group shopped rates from other health insurance companies and when they sent their findings, Bruce took the numbers to the district’s current agent “and after three days our current provider lowered our annual rates by 11 percent.”
McInnes received 20 percent of the savings, which Bruce said was a “no-brainer” since the district realized 80 percent of the savings. Before using the consultant, Bruce said the district was probably looking at an increase in health insurance premiums.
Bruce also said the consultant contract is renewable annually. “Based on my recent work with them, my assumption is having this health consultant involved every year to be our district’s advocate is of great value, but that is something we get the chance to review and decide on every year,” he said.
McInnes Group is based in Fairway, Kansas and specializes in structuring benefit packages. The group offers three options from an upfront consulting fee to a fee based on the percentage of premium and overall savings. An initial consultation is free of charge to the KASB member district.
Districts are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this service because employee benefit costs make up 15 percent of districts’ operating budgets, more than double what it was in 1999.
KASB Risk Management’s Health Insurance Consulting helps districts control costs by providing information, strategies and analyses for health plan designs and assistance with negotiations with insurance carriers.
Earlier this year, the Health Insurance Consultant worked with Vermillion USD 380 and helped the district avoid a hefty health insurance increase.
Vermillion USD 380 Superintendent Mischel Miller, a former consultant, recognized the advantages using outside experts. Of working with McInnes, she said, “They just came in and give you an opinion, based on fact.”
Rod Spangler, director of KASB Risk Management, said the KASB’s Health Consulting Service and partnership with McInnes Group will provide short and long-term benefits for districts.
“Our members deserve a quality advocate to support them through this annual process,” Spangler said.
“In some cases it is not about switching carriers, or even what we call `chasing rate’ and going with the lowest price for medical insurance, typically our members pay the price for that in year 2 and 3 with increased cost. This advocate and our Health Consulting Service will provide that annual guidance and support necessary to bring them the best possible plan, with the highest level of understanding and transparency – and in the end, the hope is that we can lower fiscal resources committed to this important benefit, and point those into the classroom to ensure student success.”
Spangler added, “For me, the objective is less about switching carriers, or moving annually to the lowest cost option, but building that education around how plans work, what drives cost, what options exist.”