Eau Claire School District recommending changing healthcare prov - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire School District recommending changing healthcare provider

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- The rising cost of healthcare has the Eau Claire School District looking to make a change.  The district says it's strapped for cash so the school board will talk Monday about changing providers.

"It's going to have a real impact on the cost of doing business," explains Dan Van De Water, who serves as the Eau Claire School District Executive Director of Business Services.

The Eau Claire School District is in a bind and is looking at ways to get itself out.  For the last four years, Group Health and Delta Dental have served Eau Claire School District employees.  But something has to change.

"Health care costs are increasing at dramatic rates and we have to deal with that within the content of the dollars that we have available in our budget," says Van De Water.

The district won't say which provider they could switch to or how much current rates have increased.  It would only say the rise was too much for it to afford. The district is looking to add an HMO option along with the current open-access option.  Depending on which plan the employee chooses, their premiums could go up or down. 

"We'd be looking at reduced premiums in exchange for higher deductibles and co-pays," Van De Water points out. 

The district says the governor's budget is making a difficult decision that much harder.

"93 percent of our revenue stream is controlled by the state of Wisconsin, the governor, and the legislature.  The governor's budget proposal, which calls for zero increase in that revenue stream, that amounts to about 85 percent of the dollars that we have to work with in our district," Van De Water calculates.  "And so if that is going to be flat, that significantly aggravates our budget issues at the local level."

The district says nine companies submitted bids, but that has been narrowed to three.  The school district expects to announce more details at its board meeting on Monday.  The board is expected to vote on the measure in April.  It would take effect in July.

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