Survey aims to find savings in school health insurance plans

Written by Ben Allen and Radio Pennsylvania | Sep 28, 2015 2:19 PM

(Harrisburg) -- Health insurance is a major cost for school districts in Pennsylvania. So, a state senator sees health expenses as ripe for some savings.

Republican state Senator David Argall of Schuylkill County is trying to collect health insurance data from all 500 school districts in Pennsylvania.

Then, he hopes to chart a roadmap for savings, through potentially consolidating smaller plans.

So far, only about 150 districts have submitted information, with the September 30th deadline quickly approaching.

But a consultant that works with about a hundred districts is pledging to get information in by the deadline.

Major insurance plans have also provided details.

It cited confidentiality issues, but now says it will respond very shortly.

The survey comes out of a Senate resolution to study health care costs.

Argall says if districts share the information, the state might be able to find some savings.

"We believe that if more school districts would work together to buy health care coverage for their employees, they would be able to save a considerable amount of money, without sacrificing any exisiting benefits," says Argall.

Argall says districts with fewer employees usually pay more per employee than larger districts, which is why he thinks consolidating the health plans makes sense. "People seem to understand the fact that if you buy insurance for ten or a hundred employees, you're going to pay a much higher rate than if you're buying that same insurance package for a thousand or ten thousand employees," he says.

The Legislative Budget and Finance committee is set to put together a preliminary report.

Argall hopes to use the results to develop a strategy for the future.

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