A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Correction: An earlier version of this article reported that a teacher would pay $1,509 a month for a family health plan. That is actually the district’s entire cost for a family plan including health, dental, vision, life insurance and long term disability. The article has been changed.

A teacher working at the Grand Ledge Public School District pays 46.5 percent of the premium cost for the district’s most popular individual health care plan. That is a sharp contrast to numerous other school districts in the state that cover 100 percent of those costs for their educators. But that isn’t a new board-imposed directive in the face of looming budget cuts by the district, which is about 12 miles west of Lansing. In fact, it’s been around for about 30 years, according to Daniel Davis, assistant superintendent for human resources.

At a time when health care costs are rising, Grand Ledge has one of the most aggressive cost-sharing agreements in the state. The district has a cap on what it will pay for health care benefits. Currently, it’s $362.55 per month for a single-person plan. The employee would pay $315.31 per month. Teachers chip in for 46.5 percent of the costs of health care.

This is additionally striking because it is more than double the private-sector average. Employees in the private sector pay an average of 20 percent of their health care premiums when they are taking advantage of an employer-provided health care plan.

Davis said if the cap wasn’t adopted about three decades ago, it would be very difficult to get a similar cost-sharing agreement in place.

“We’d be like every other district that would be sitting there trying to get people to pay 5 to 10 percent,” Davis said.

Now, teachers are looking into dropping the current health care plan and shopping for something less expensive.

“We are only going to pay a certain amount,” Davis said. “If they can find something else (less expensive), they can give themselves a raise.”

Capping what a school district is willing to pay for health care is not a new concept. Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Michael Shibler proposed such a plan in 2009 while testifying before a state House of Representatives committee.

Michael Van Beek, the education policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said such premium caps are very rare throughout Michigan. But he noted that Grand Ledge debunks the belief that “Cadillac” insurance programs are needed to keep teachers in a district.

“Grand Ledge is doing just fine as a school district by most people’s standards and not paying an exorbitant amount for health insurance,” he said.

~~~~~

See also:

Cutting state spending requires going where the money is: K-12 education

The 'Real World' vs. Public School Finances

Rochester Schools Raise Pay, Report Cuts, and Blame Governor

Does the Lansing School District Really Pay ‘Below the Poverty Line’ for Teachers?

Teacher Union Prez: Stronger Emergency Financial Managers is "Just Like Being in the Slave Days"

The Compensation of An “Unappreciated” and “Devalued” Spanish Teacher

Snyder K-12 Cuts Embellished by Critics

'Budget Cut' Doesn't Mean the Same Thing to Public and Private Sectors

West Michigan School Super Claims Budget Cuts — But Do the Numbers Add Up?

Teacher Union Employee Exaggerates Snyder Budget Cuts and More in Email to Rally Members

Decade of Cuts Is Claimed by School District Giving 14 Percent Raises Over 24 Months

Are Teachers Not 'Treated With Respect' by Taxpayers?

Analysis of Michigan Teacher Salaries Compared to Rest of Nation

Analysis: Schools, Health Insurance and Corporate Welfare

The Michigan Education Association says members may leave only in the month of August. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has set up www.AugustOptOut.org to help inform MEA members of their rights.


Most Popular