Worthington taxpayers will pay approximately $1.3 million more for health insurance for Worthington school employees in 2012.

Worthington taxpayers will pay approximately $1.3 million more for health insurance for Worthington school employees in 2012.

The Worthington Board of Education unanimously approved a two-year agreement with Medical Mutual of Ohio at its Monday meeting. Premiums will increase 11.99 percent in 2012, and no more than 13 percent in 2013, according to the agreement.

The new price of a premium is $1,491 a month for a family and $555 a month for a single person.

The school board picks up 86 percent of the premium for teachers and other certified employees, and 91 percent of the premium cost for classified employees.

That means a teacher will pay $209 a month for family coverage or $78 a month for single coverage.

A classified employee will pay $134 a month for a family, $50 a month for a single.

No board member spoke against the increase. Board president Marc Schare noted that the board is legally mandated to provide health care for its employees.

Resident John Hyre, a candidate for the board in the November election, said the increase in cost constitutes a raise for employees.

He pointed out that a $1-million-plus increase could pay for 10 or more teachers.

“With that number of teachers, for example, we could easily have brought foreign language instruction back into our elementary schools and additional language options back into our high schools,” Hyre said.

Insurance rates are market-driven and should not be considered raises, said Superintendent Thomas Tucker.

He pointed out that the board requested proposals from five companies before choosing Medical Mutual, which provided the lowest bid.

UnitedHealthcare, the current provider, entered a bid that was 23.9 percent higher than the current cost.

Anthem’s bid was 14 percent higher, and CIGNA’s 12.74 percent. A fifth company chose not to bid.

The increases are below the budgeted amount in the current five-year forecast, said district treasurer Jeff McCuen.

The recommendation to award the contract to Medical Mutual came from the district’s insurance committee, which includes teachers, classified staff members, administrators, McCuen, board member Jennifer Best and a health-care consultant.