In a short meeting Wednesday evening, the Clay Community School's Board of Trustees approved the Indiana State Teachers Association Trust to administer the new health care insurance plan instead of the present provider, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
The ISTA Trust bid, which was an increase of 13.9 percent, was a significantly lower rate than Anthem's renewal rate of 28.4 percent increase, but both companies projected premiums to rise. The ISTA Trust will provide the new insurance plan without changing the prior plan design or coverage, but can not guarantee the level of future increase to premiums.
The two insurance companies were the only ones to participate in the bidding process this past summer. Many insurance companies do not provide the type of insurance coverage being sought, which has been described as "a Cadillac" among policies during past board discussions, and did not participate in the bidding process.
The lack of insurance companies preparing bids was a concern for some.
Board member Terry Barr said she wasdissatisfied that the new insurance did not place all employees on the same policy as previously recommended and that the choice had become which of two bad choices was the best.
"We will now be locked for two years into this plan," she said. "Just because it is the least financially irresponsible plan, it still isn't right. For that reason I will vote against it."
Board member Ted Jackson was in agreement with Barr.
"This insurance is better coverage than I can get working at a hospital," Jackson said before the vote.
He urged people to take a look at their own insurance coverage, at how many people are facing lack of proper insurance coverage or doing without it completely, in an effort to understand that the board will have to make tough decisions in the future.
"I will vote for it, but we are going to have to take a hard look at alternatives," he said.
Board President Steve Grigsby said the board would have to do something about the skyrocketing insurance premiums, and that this was a first step in the right direction.
In a vote of 6 to 1, with board member Terry Barr casting the descending vote, ISTA Trust will administer the new health insurance plan for two years, when at such time the board can re-negotiate the terms or find a new provider.
Board members Steven Grigsby, Jim Guy, Dottie King, Terry Barr, Len Fischer, Ted Jackson, Joe Thomas and Superintendent William Schad adjourned into Executive Session after the meeting.