Health costs drop for school district employees

Health insurance premiums and deductibles have decreased for School District 51 employees since the district implemented a Community Hospital insurance plan in 2012, reversing the district’s $1.7 million health care budget deficit, hospital officials told the Board of Education this week.

Community Hospital President Chris Thomas and other hospital officials told board members how the school district has benefited from a partnership with Community, nearly one month after Monument Health CEO Stephanie Motter and St. Mary’s Medical Center President Brian Davidson asked school board members to consider adding Monument Health as another health insurance option for 2,800 district employees and their families.

Since implementing a combination of a high-deductible health insurance plan and free primary care visits, the annual deductible has fallen from nearly $6,000 to $4,000 for individual employees and from $12,000 to $8,000 for families.

Monthly premiums have dropped for families or spouses by between 2 and 7 percent.

“I think we’ve accomplished those goals of lowering costs and improving benefits to employees,” Thomas said.

Adding nearly 3,000 prospective patients has also benefited Community Hospital, he said.

“This has been a great partnership for us also. It’s allowed us to have a lot of new patients who have chosen Community Hospital and helped us grow,” he said.

Community also developed a partnership with the University of Utah after taking on District 51.

“The other hospital in town didn’t want to give you discounts when you chose to partner with Community Hospital, so we reached out to University of Utah for those services that we didn’t provide to make sure that you had coverage,” Thomas said. “We wanted to make sure that your coverage was complete and that you weren’t being held hostage for services that Community Hospital didn’t provide.”

Thomas said that’s no longer the case, and “you do have benefits from all the hospitals in town.”

School board member Greg Mikolai, who helped develop the original plan with Community Hospital, said the district started to see benefits from working with Community almost immediately.

“I’m very grateful that Community Hospital was able to come in and work with us and I think it’s been a great partnership all along,” Mikolai said. “It’s been very beneficial to everyone in the district.”


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