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School districts get creative with health insurance purchasing options

July 18, 2012

For Immediate Release
Contact: Michelle Berryman, WEA Trust
Telephone: 608.276.4000
Cell: 608.206.9204

Minocqua, WISCONSIN—Four school districts in Vilas County found an innovative way to provide employees health insurance while working with longstanding partners to save taxpayers money. With the help of their insurance broker and a Wisconsin not-for-profit insurer, the local school districts—Lakeland Union High School, Lac du Flambeau, North Lakeland, and Minocqua Hazlehurst Lake Tomahawk—formed an insurance purchasing consortium effective July 1, 2012.

The consortium concept was facilitated by John Preuss, Account Executive for M3 Insurance, and created through a process where three carriers had the opportunity to bid. The goal of the bid process was to determine which carrier could offer the best networks, service, and premium rates for 2012 and 2013. The bid specifications were released in February, and the three carriers provided proposals in March.

According to Preuss, after a rigorous review process, the WEA Trust was selected based on the following competitive advantages:

  • Best overall pricing
  • Best 2nd year not-to-exceed rate cap
  • Statewide and national network
  • COBRA Administration and Waiver of Premium included
  • Multi-tiered prescription drug plan that rewards employees for choosing cost effective prescriptions

“The Lakeland Area Consortium was the result of local school districts working together to create a plan to lower and stabilize premium costs, and the WEA Trust was an easy choice because of how competitive they were in this situation, and how committed they are to the district and our employees. The new arrangement will help us keep our funds in the classroom, where they are needed now more than ever,” said Todd Kleinhans, Lakeland Union High School District Superintendent.

Going forward, the Trust will be meeting with the coalition on a quarterly basis. The focus will be to monitor how well the plan is performing, generate excitement among the employees of each district with regard to wellness, and to educate the members about how consumerism can play an important role in stabilizing costs going forward.

“The WEA Trust has proven success in creating purchasing coalitions including most recently for the Lakeland Area, CESA 8, Door Kewaunee, and Walworth County. We are devoted to developing high quality, yet cost-effective solutions for Wisconsin school districts in these fiscally challenging times, as we have been for over 40 years,” said Kathryne McGowan, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, WEA Trust.

Other school districts in the area may be eligible to join the consortium and also realize savings.