News Release: Health Insurance Information for More Than 500 Michigan School Districts Available Online

Teachers do not contribute to the cost of their own premiums in more than 300 plans

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010
Contact: Michael Van Beek
Director of Education Policy
989-631-0900

MIDLAND - More than 95 percent of Michigan school districts' 2008-09 health insurance costs are available online, Mackinac Center Director of Education Policy Michael Van Beek announced today. The database contains information reported directly from schools on all their employer-provided health insurance plans. Details include the plan provider, plan title, monthly premium costs, employee contributions and number of enrollees.

"District-provided employee insurance costs Michigan taxpayers nearly $2 billion per year," Van Beek said. "This database provides many important details about how that money is being spent at the district level."

Van Beek highlighted some notable information from the data. For instance, the 2008-09 average annual premium for 602 family plans offered to teachers was $15,786, and the average annual employee contribution to these plans was $665, or 4.2 percent. Teachers in 301 of these plans make no contribution to the cost of their insurance premium.

These numbers stand in stark contrast to statewide averages. The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that the average family premium in Michigan in 2008 was $11,321. On average, employees contribute $2,522, or 22 percent, to the cost of their monthly premium.

Several school districts stand out for effectively controlling their employee health insurance costs with innovative strategies and plans, Van Beek noted. Some districts limit their contribution to monthly premiums and allow employees to choose from a variety of plans. The employees then pay the difference between the premium of the plan they choose and the district's contribution. Several larger districts are partially or completely self-insured, which enables them to control costs by only paying for actual claims made by employees.

"Rising health insurance costs combined with declining enrollment and state-based tax revenue makes it imperative for schools to explore new ways of reducing employee insurance costs," Van Beek said. "This database can assist school districts in that endeavor."

The database can be found at: http://www.michiganschooldatabases.org.

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