Glendale — The Nicolet School Board unanimously approved changes to employee health insurance benefits Monday night, with changes taking effect Jan. 1. Starting next year, the front-end deductibles will double to $500 for a single plan and $1,000 for a family plan in-network, while the out-of-network deductibles will also double, to $1,000 and $2,000 respectively. The employee shares of premiums will also rise, going from 7.7 percent to 10 percent for a single plan and from 10.6 percent to 13 percent for a family plan.
Director of Business Services Jeff Dellutri told the board that he had explained the increases at meetings with employees where he said "there was nice give and take." The district faces a 13.4 percent increase in health insurance costs.
In an interview later, Dellutri said the sessions with more than 20 employees "weren't negotiation, since we can't negotiate, but it was bringing alternatives to a nice cross-section of employees." He described the sessions as "meet and confer" events, where younger employees were most concerned with the size of their percentage of premiums, which he said could have gone as high as 12 percent. Older employees, he added, were more concerned with the size of the deductible.
At the meeting, discussion centered around the district's policy of allowing employees covered through a spouse's insurance to waive coverage from Nicolet and receive a $500 monthly stipend. Board members directed that if two Nicolet employees are married, the second spouse should not receive the stipend.
"If two of our employees get married, one of them gets a $6,000 raise," board member Ellen Redeker said of the present policy.
District officials said that other districts offer similar benefits, and Superintendent Robert Kobylski remarked that "if we're going to attract and retain quality employees, I'd certainly not want to lose someone over this."
Board member Joseph Kasle responded, "If it's someone you really want, pay them more to get them."
Kobylski quipped that "I can think of 100 things I'd rather talk about" than health insurance, but added that he had hoped to have the district's revised policies on employee health insurance done by January, "and that would be one heck of an accomplishment."
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