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Possible Savings for Schools on Health Insurance Collaboration

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 10:23 AM

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A recent report suggests Ohio's school districts could save millions of dollars in healthcare costs if they collaborate on health insurance plans. ideastream's Lisa Ann Pinkerton reports.

The report says a mandatory, single provider health insurance program would save the most money for Ohio’s schools - nearly $200 million - however, that would limit choice. Instead, the report recommends either a statewide plan, with three insurance companies competing statewide for clients, or divide the state into five regions and allow companies to compete for a monopoly in one region. The study by Mercer Health and Benefits was commissioned by the Ohio School Employee Healthcare board, which the General Assembly created last year to find the best solution. Board Chairman Steven Loebs says reducing healthcare costs for school districts could go a long way to easing tensions between labor unions and school boards.

Steven Loebs: Most all of the school districts have been in contract negotiations for years over salaries and health benefits. And it’s a very controversial part of at the school district level causing in some cases labor action.

The Board will take January to evaluate the report and make recommendations to the Ohio Legislature by the end of the month. Lisa Ann Pinkerton, 90.3.

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