New Albany-Plain Local School District employees will see a big jump in their health insurance costs next school year.

New Albany-Plain Local School District employees will see a big jump in their health insurance costs next school year.

The school board voted unanimously Monday, May 24, to change the district's heath, dental and life insurance providers.

Though the change, which goes into effect July 1, reflects a 17.9-percent jump in health insurance costs from the current school year, the increase is less than it would have been without the change in providers, treasurer Brian Ramsay said.

Currently, the district has a contract with Anthem for health, dental and life insurance. Effective July 1, the district will use UnitedHealthcare for both health and life insurance and MetLife for dental coverage.

Ramsay said the change reflects a $4.8-million increase in the district's total health insurance premium.

He said that is about $175,000 less than the premium would have been if NA-PLS had remained with Anthem.

"The premium amounts are set by the insurance carriers, then based on employee usage and determined by the ratio of claims paid verses premiums received," Ramsay said.

The district increase will cause an increase in employees' premiums.

The family health insurance annual rate will jump from $951.73 to $1,130.59. The single rate will jump from $352.45 to $411.12.

Dental insurance rates decreased slightly. The family rate will decrease to $95.20 from $97.17, and the single rate will decrease from $34.54 to $33.95.

The insurance changes were a result of an almost five-month process of evaluating bids from different providers, Ramsay said.

The district and its insurance committee, which is comprised of three administrators and a representative from the teachers' union, the Plain Local Education Association and the staff union, the Ohio Association of Public School Employees, evaluated Aetna, Anthem, UnitedHealthcare and Medical Mutual of Ohio for health insurance.

The benefits district employees will receive from the new providers will mirror the benefits they receive from Anthem because the two unions negotiate the terms of their insurance benefits.

Some of the details of the district's current health-insurance plan include a $15 co-pay for in-network physicians, $100 for emergency room and urgent care visits and tiered prescription drug costs.

The higher cost for insurance also represents a 12-percent increase from what the district budgeted in its annual five-year forecast, which is required to be updated at least once a year by the Ohio Department of Education.

The previous school board approved the current forecast in October and asked Ramsay to decrease the then-budgeted 12-percent increase to a 5-percent increase estimate for health-insurance costs.

Ramsay said the 17.9-percent health insurance increase, compared to the 5-percent increase that was budgeted, would have effects on the district books, particularly the cash-carryover balance.

"This insurance premium increase affects the cash carryover balance in a negative way," he said. "The cash carryover balance affects the next operating levy request. A higher carryover balance decreases the next levy amount, prolongs the next levy request and enhances credit ratings for outstanding bond debt. The better the credit rating, the lower the interest rates on outstanding debt."