Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 | 5:40 p.m.
The Clark County School District is offering a new health care plan for support staff and school police officers that lowers employee contributions, but results in higher copays.
Earlier this month, the Education Support Employees Association began lobbying the School District again to lower support staffers' health premiums after another increase that began Jan. 1. The support staff union in partnership with the police staff union filed an unfair labor practice lawsuit against the School District, arguing the district did not bargain their health insurance in good faith.
Amid pressure from the unions, the School District negotiated a new Health Maintenance Organization option for 11,000 support staff and 150 school police officers with the Health Plan of Nevada, a United Healthcare subsidiary. This new plan — called HMO Plan 3 — provides health insurance at no cost to single employees, and at half the costs for employees with dependents.
Many support staff employees were thrilled that a no-contribution HMO plan returned as a health plan option, said support staff union President John Carr. The district, through United Healthcare, had offered a similar plan in the past that more than 4,700 support staffers enrolled in.
“This is a short-term fix,” Carr said. “We will continue to fight for affordable health care for all 11,000 of our support staff employees.”
Here is how the new support staff and school police contributions will work:
• Instead of paying $11.90 per paycheck, single employees would pay nothing.
• Instead of paying $66.90 per paycheck, an employee with one dependent would pay $33.45.
• Instead of paying $96.90 per paycheck, an employee with two dependents would pay $48.45.
• Instead of paying $45.90 per paycheck, a family with two employees will pay $22.95.
Although contributions will be lower, copays are going up. Prescription copays would increase by $15, while emergency room visits will result in double the copay, from $200 in the the previous plan to $400 in the new plan.
The new plan will be available beginning Feb. 1. Employees may enroll through April 1.
The cost of health insurance for the School District — the largest public employer in Nevada — has risen by 22 percent since September 2011. As a result, the district is looking again at consolidating health insurance plans for all four employee groups: administrators, police, support staff and teachers.
In a letter to staff today, Clark County Schools Superintendent Pat Skorkowsky said the School District and Board are committed to providing an affordable and quality districtwide health care plan for all employees.
“The hope is that, by creating one plan for all of our employee groups we would be able to offer health care at a lower cost to all of our 38,000 employees and their dependents,” Skorkowsky said. “I pledge to keep you updated on this important issue in the coming months.”