Friday, December 03, 2010

New HC bill coming down the pike?

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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

STRS Board to meet December 8-9, 2010

From STRS, December 1, 2010
The State Teachers Retirement Board and Committee meetings currently scheduled at the STRS Ohio offices, 275 East Broad Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215, are as follows:
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
9 a.m. - Disability Review Panel (Executive Session), followed by
Ad Hoc Committee for Retreat Review
Thursday, December 9, 2010
9 a.m. - Investment Committee Meeting, followed by
Retirement Board Meeting, followed by
Audit Committee Meeting, followed by
Resumption of the Retirement Board Meeting
The Retirement Board meeting will come to order at 9 a.m. on Thursday, December 9, 2010, and begin with a report from the Investment Dept., followed by the Executive Director's Report, public participation, routine matters, old business, new business or any other matters requiring attention.
STRS Board to meet December 8-9, 2010
Details here.

CORE to meet December 9, 2010
Click here for details.

Monday, November 29, 2010

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Joe...welcome to what RETIRED educators have faced for years!

From John Curry, November 28, 2010
“I don’t believe there is one school district in Allen County that is pleased with this,” said Joe MacBenn, co-president of the Lima Education Association. “Unfortunately we understand also that this is a measure that needed to be taken to cut costs.”
MacBenn said an employee could now pay as much as $1,000 a month in insurance because of the change.
Note from John....let's see, Joe, currently STRS wants $1,151 per month for spouse and retiree....that's even more than your inflated figure!
Health insurance costs ignite changes in school plans
Allen County schools move to spousal coordination of benefits
November 27, 2010
Beth L. Jokinen
Lima News
LIMA — After a 20 and 15 percent increase in insurance costs the past two years, hearing another 22.6 percent jump was in store was enough for the Allen County health insurance consortium to do something.
The self-insured group, with representatives from every school district in the county, will begin requiring employees’ spouses with health insurance available to them to take it. The move, which takes affect in January, cuts the increase down to 17.6 percent.
“It is simply a sign of the time. We have a need to adapt just like the private sector,” Allen County Superintendent Brian Rockhold said.
More and more school districts and those in the private sector are going this route as a way to reduce costs, said Elida Superintendent Don Diglia. Close to 40 percent of districts in the state have gone to spousal coordination of benefits, he said.
Allen County is not the first in the region. The consortium representing Auglaize and Mercer counties started the requirement in May. Wapakoneta is not included in the consortium and does not do the spousal requirement. St. Marys schools Treasurer Tom Sommer said it didn’t happen without some employee contention. The idea isn’t loved by Allen County teachers either.
“I don’t believe there is one school district in Allen County that is pleased with this,” said Joe MacBenn, co-president of the Lima Education Association. “Unfortunately we understand also that this is a measure that needed to be taken to cut costs.”
MacBenn said an employee could now pay as much as $1,000 a month in insurance because of the change. Area unions had little time to lobby against the change, he said.
“We have taken a major hit in terms of insurance over the last several years, in terms of cost and quality. It is sad to see that,” he said.
There is an opt-out provision to try to keep it from being too much of a hardship on families, Rockhold said. If the spouses’ coverage cost more than 50 percent of the monthly premiums, the requirement is waived.
With spousal coordination of benefits becoming more popular in private industry and other public entities, Diglia said schools have seen more employees staying with district insurance plans, which raises the number of claims.
“It is pretty standard operating business right now,” he said. “We have been asked to be more like a business and as a result that is what we are doing. We’re doing what we can to control health care costs. … Hopefully we are being better stewards of taxpayer dollars by keeping those costs down.”
An insurance study conducted for the consortium showed that even if it breaks even next year, the consortium would still face double digit increases because of medical trend costs and the federal health care legislation.
“That isn’t real encouraging,” Rockhold said. “If we are doing everything right, we are still looking at double-digit increases.”
Putnam County is the minority in the region, having not seen an increase in three years. It has not spent much time discussing spousal coordination, Columbus Grove Superintendent Bob Jennell said. Prior to three years ago, it was seeing double digit increases.
“We took a look at our deductibles, and made some adjustments,” he said. “Those were wise moves, I guess. It has caused us to have a stable health care consortium right now.”
Jennell said the consortium analyzed its plan and went to a plan with reasonable deductibles and low premiums, and were able to get reasonable rates.
The Auglaize County group will have a 5 percent increase this year, which follows 20 and 6.5 percent increases the previous years.
The Van Wert County consortium also has done better than most. It is seeing a 3 percent increase this coming year after no increase last year. It jumped 5 percent the previous year. Officials know their good fortune could change quickly.
“With the industry, I have seen it before where there has been double digit increases for a seven-year period every year,” Van Wert Superintendent Ken Amstutz said. “It is kind of cyclical and that cycle could come back around.”
Amstutz and Treasurer Mike Ruen support spousal coordination, although the consortium has not discussed it. The consortium runs a little differently in that union representatives have a vote. With projected cuts in state funding, Amstutz believes the requirement will have to be one of the many cost-saving measures schools look at.
“Our people are going to have to work with us when it comes down to some of these things for the survival of each school district," he said.
The consortium in Hardin County has had minimal discussions about spousal coordination of benefits, although costs continue to climb. They went up 18 percent last July and 15 and 7.89 percent the previous years. Ada Treasurer Christy Beaschler said discussions haven’t gone far, maybe out of concerns of being fair.
“On the other hand, if everyone is going to do it,” she said. “We are going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place and may have to look at it.”

CORE meeting scheduled for December 9

CORE will hold its December 2010 meeting on Thursday, December 9, at 11:45 a.m. in the rear (partitioned section) of the Sublett Room, second floor of the STRS building, adjacent to the cafeteria.
Members may submit agenda items to Trustee John Curry ( or President Dave Parshall (
Agenda items currently include:
1.) What is next for the 30 and below folks?
2.) Planning for the lobbying effort in 2011 and any proposed “fix” to the pension mess in Ohio
We hope to see you there, as this is an important meeting since CORE will need to be active to protect our interests.
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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