TUSD’S SELF-INSURED HEALTH PLAN
A district as large as TUSD should benefit from many economies of scale. TUSD achieved this in one area by switching to self-insurance in health in 2010. Mark advocated for this change, which is saving millions of dollars while generating fewer complaints than the former plan.
As a member of the health trust board that oversees the plan, since its creation, Mark has pushed for reprocurement of all of its contracts and cuts in reinsurance and other excess expenses. This means that more money goes into benefits. TUSD’s benefits consultant recently calculated that administrative costs represent 8% of the health plan’s revenues, far below the typical 13-15%.
These efficiencies mean that the health plan has kept employee contributions flat for the past five years, while expanding many benefits, such as eliminating copays on most essential maintenance drugs and adding bariatric surgery. At the same time, the health plan has built a substantial reserve fund that should help to curtail premium increases for years to come.
Maintaining distance from the politics of the Governing Board accounts for much of the health trust’s success. Therefore, it was unfortunate that the Governing Board chose to oust the Health Trust’s chairman in 2015, by adding a residency requirement for trust board members. (The chairman lived a short distance outside of TUSD boundaries.) The chairman had received no criticism and, in Mark’s opinion, deserved more credit than any other single member of the trust board for its outstanding management of the health plan.
The residency requirement should be removed, and the Governing Board should keep its inefficient meddling away from the health plan, which is currently one of the most efficient operations in TUSD.