Groveport Madison school district employees are now paying 4 percent more for health insurance -- but that increase is much smaller than the rate hikes that went into effect in 2016 and 2017, according to district Treasurer John Walsh.

Walsh asked the Groveport Madison Board of Education Aug. 15 to authorize the 4 percent rate increase for health insurance premiums, retroactive to Aug. 1.

The district offers a two-tier program. Walsh said the difference between the two is how much employees pay toward their deductibles and for co-pay charges. Both health insurance plans include health and prescription coverage and employees have the option of selecting either plan

Under each plan, administrators, non-bargaining unit support staff and members of the Groveport Madison Local Education Association pay 10 percent of the premiums and members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees pay 15 percent.

The measure unanimously approved by the board two weeks ago means that Plan 1 single coverage costs $934.10 each month and the family plan costs $2,302.76 each month.

Previously, Plan 1 single coverage was $898.17 and family coverage was $2,214.19 monthly.

The Plan 2 single-coverage rate is now $793.04 per month, up from $762.54 per month; the Plan 2 family rate is now $1,960.86 each month, compared to $1,885.44.

District officials decided to self-fund health insurance, starting Jan. 1, 2018, as a way cost-control measure.

"This 4 percent rate increase compares to a 14 percent increase on Aug. 1, 2016, and an approximately 11 percent increase on Aug. 1, 2017," Walsh said.

He said he anticipates that health care coverage for the district will cost about $11.98 million over the course of the year, compared to $11.02 million last year.

While health care costs are always under review, Walsh said the district does not anticipate any further rate increases until possibly next August.

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