The School Employers Trust (SET) was created by the founder of the MESSA plans, so it is not surprising that there are many similarities between SET and MESSA:
Benefits are delivered in part through their own TPA;
Plans use participating and nonparticipating providers;
The TPA does not release claims history information;
Plans are underwritten by BCBSM; and
Benefits are designed to be identical to MESSA plans.
SET has supporters in the education industry primarily because of its affiliation with the Michigan Association of School Boards. It can be thought of as the school board and administrator version of the MESSA plans. The pool of contracts is, however, substantially smaller than MESSA's, and SET has recently provided optional product lines through Fortis Insurance Company.
Historically, the annual health care rates for SET groups usually reflect slightly lower costs than the MESSA rates for comparable plans. These SET products can provide a viable option to districts that are only looking at comparable benefits at initially lower rates.
The drawbacks for school districts are similar to those of the MESSA plan; the most important being that the groups do not have access to their claims history. These control tactics limit districts' future options and effectively forces them to stay in a community-rated program regardless of their claims history or size.