The pace is picking up as the Health Care Authority (HCA) prepares the School Employee Benefits Board (SEBB) to make decisions on plan structure and plan eligibility (big deal for classified employees who work on the bubble – at least 3.5 hours per day). As if that isn’t enough, plans for negotiations with Governor Inslee’s Office of Financial Management (OFM) are well underway with a tentative negotiation start date of July 20. Though my blog entries in the past have exclusively focused on legislative session activities, I have decided to blog on the progress of SEBB decision-making and SEBB negotiations with OFM over the next several months. Enjoy…
SEBB consists of 9 individuals appointed by Governor Inslee who have been meeting and making decisions (known as resolutions) about plan design and plan eligibility (who qualifies to be in the plan). They have been passing numerous resolutions since they began meeting on October 23, 2017. Mostof those early resolutions were procedural and were passed without any dissent. Over the last several meetings, the resolutions are beginning to shape plans that will be offered.
At yesterday’s June 13, 2018, meeting the Board passed several motions that will start development of the medical plans. Not surprisingly, the resolutions started out with plans that will look similar to PEBB (Public Employee Benefits Board) plans but the constant conversation and effort of the Board is tailoring the PEBB plans to K 12. For instance, the Board is looking into a separate stand-alone vision plan (rather than an embedded vision plan as in PEBB) as well as looking at the costs surrounding increasing the number of visits to specialists like OT, PT, massage, chiropractors, etc.
If you are interested in what was discussed at the June 13 meeting, the HCA prepares “briefing books” for each meeting. All the resolutions behind Tab 8 were approved with the exception of resolution 2018-24 (that one was put off for now).
BTW: if you are interested to see which insurance companies have shown an interest in bidding for medical insurance coverage for K 12 starting January 1, 2020, (and more importantly which counties will they be offering their plans), go to Tab 8 of the May 30, 2018, meeting. Though this is only a showing of interest, it is a good sign that four insurance companies are interested in offering medical insurance in all 39 counties.
Next SEBB meeting: July 30, 2018.
Since SEBB benefits for all K 12 employees will be the same (Superintendents, teachers, classified), it requires that funding for those benefits be the same throughout the state. As a result, a coalition of unions representing school employees will be negotiating insurance funding with OFM starting July 1, 2018. The purpose is to determine how much the state and employers will pay for monthly insurance benefits for all employees who work or anticipated to work more than 630 hours in a school year.
A steering committee led by the Washington Education Association (WEA) has met twice to decide how we are going to negotiate with OFM. The steering committee is composed of representatives from PSE, WEA, Operating Engineers, SEIU 925, and Teamsters. We have made good progress and expect to have a negotiation proposal finalized at our next meeting. Details of that proposal will be shared after it is approved by the steering committee. We will be asking for at least the same funding levels as state employees (they are also in negotiations for PEBB funding at the same time) plus full funding of the classified employee insurance benefit factor.
Next steering committee meeting: (July 10).