Bartow schools hear news on insurance changes
by Mark Andrews
Aug 14, 2013 | 2072 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Todd Hooper, chief financial officer for the Bartow County School System, reiterated to the Bartow County Board of Education on Monday that insurance changes are headed toward the district and that many of the changes are unknown at this point.

“One of the big things that is occurring all across the nation that we’ve heard about and is going to impact us is the Affordable Care Act,” Hooper said to the board during the board’s regular work session. “As you’ve heard, a major provision of it was held off until Jan. 1 of 2015, but the act still goes into

effect Aug. 1 as well as the state health benefit

plan just last week announced they would be changing providers.

“We’ve had Cigna and United Healthcare in the past, but it will be going to Blue Cross Blue Shield [of Georgia] to manage the employee’s health fund. Rates and plans designed have not been unveiled yet to us, but [I expect that to happen soon].”

According to a press release from the Georgia Department of Community Health, “More than 650,000 [State Health Benefit Plan] members statewide will have access to a high-quality provider network and will have the choice of enrolling in one of the three (Bronze, Silver or Gold) consumer-driven, PPO-type plan options offered by BlueCross BlueShield. Enrollees will also be provided the added benefit of a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA).

“The dollars provided to the SHBP member in the HRA can be used toward eligible medical expenses and will lower the SHBP members’ deductible. The majority of members will have an option available to them that will reduce their monthly premiums.

“... BCBSGA will coordinate closely with Express Scripts Inc., selected to administer pharmacy benefits, and Healthways Inc., selected to administer wellness programs and related incentives. The new plan contracts will be effective for Plan Year 2014, which begins on [Jan.] 1, 2014.”

Hooper said the board needs to plan for how to address any looming changes under the ACA.

“An ACA committee with the school system needs to be assembled, that has been one of the recommendations from several different providers across the state ...,” Hooper said. “They’ve all suggested we come up with a committee of employees to undertake, understand and communicate how we are going to address the Affordable Care Act in the school system so there’s no false rumors or any bad information disseminated as we go forward.”

In other school news, the board will hold its regular business session Monday, Aug. 19, at 6 p.m. in the central office boardroom. Among other agenda items, the board will vote on the purchase of Apple MacAir laptop computers for teachers and students for Adairsville High School as well as Woodland Middle School and high school and the county’s elementary schools through its two phases of Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grants.

For more board information, including meeting agendas, visit www.bartow.k12.ga.us.