By ROBERT HELDE
On May 12th, the Hernando County School Board (Board) continued to workshop the decision of how to proceed with health insurance coverage for the Hernando County School District. Lisa Becker, Director of Business Services presented to the Board with Shawn Flemming from the Gehring Group, an independent consulting firm. Robin MacDonald, representative for Florida Blue, was unable to participate in the workshop as planned due to technical difficulties.
The current insurance provision is a full coverage plan through Florida Blue, providing a low risk option where the responsibility of the employer, the Board, is constrained to paying a premium rate. The last time a request was made for bids to change insurance was in 2016. At that point Florida Blue, Aetna, Humana, and United responded positively, with Florida Blue having the best overall offer. Finding the best option for school district employees was a point of concern during this workshop. The ostensible intentions of the Board, as expressed during the workshop, were to attempt to minimize impact to employees, and to minimize cost.
An alternate option is to switch to self insured coverage. This change would potentially allow for lower premium costs, however, it would also shift a greater weight of responsibility to the Board members. According to information put together by the Gehring Group, there is a potential premium savings of between 4% and 6%. One challenge of going to a self insured coverage was the decision making responsibility, regarding appeals, being placed ultimately on the Board. In addition, the financial solvency of the Board would need to be assessed annually to receive actuarial certification.
During the workshop concerns were raised regarding both coverage options. The decision reached during this workshop was multifaceted. Negotiate with Florida Blue regarding a fully insured plan, get a quote for a self insured plan, and look for broker contracts to piggyback off of for support. The result of these investigations would then be brought back to the Board for their final approval. The motion passed with approval from at least Suasan Duval, Gus Guadagnino, and Jimmy Lodato.