Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Benefits Information

Read this, if you get NSD Health Benefits. November is Open Enrollment for 2017. Benefits Fair is Wednesday.

Dear NSEA Member,

November is the time to make decisions regarding your negotiated NSD Health Benefits for the 2017 calendar year—the Open Enrollment period. To help you make those decisions, below is background and a summary. The NSD Benefits Fair is Wednesday, Nov 2nd from 2 to 5:30 PM at the Admin Center, with plenty of people to answer your questions. For more info, see the resources at the bottom of this email.

·         As those of us at the August 31 Contract Vote heard, our elected State decision-makers decide how much to fund our health benefits, leaving the rest of the cost to us. The State’s health care allocation for K-12 employee health benefits increased only $12 per month from last year. It was $768, and is now $780 per full time employee. Because healthcare costs are rising much higher than this meager 1.5% funding increase, monthly premiums are going up. The State (mainly the State Senate) is shifting cost to us. That’s one reason be involved in doorbelling, phoning, and of course, voting to elect State decision-makers who support us. The Legislature, Governor, OSPI, and Supreme Court judges all play a role in our benefit costs.

·         In Northshore, benefit decisions are negotiated via a Districtwide Benefits Committee, whose results are then presented to each Association for review. We are grateful for the work of the NSEA representatives to the Committee: Mary Haltiner, and Peggy Sturm.    Chris Tracy serves as NSEA’s consultant to the Committee.

·         In Northshore we are able to get better benefits at lower costs for our money because, through our locally bargained Benefits Committee, Northshore self –insures most of the Benefit Plans. That means that the portion of our benefit funds that goes to insurance company profits is low because the insurance companies only create the provider networks and administer the paperwork, but NSD actually insures the plans. Thus our Insurance committee used $560,000 from NSD insurance savings (reserves) from last year to lower the cost of premium increases for 2017. This is a big reason why maintaining our right to locally bargain health benefits is important.

·         Group Health. 2017 Payroll deductions for those covering dependents will increase up to $2 per month over 2016. Single subscribers out of pocket payroll deduction will increase $15 monthly, to make progress in meeting the Senate Bill 5940 goals, which require that single subscribers pay more, while those covering families pay less. 

·         Regence Programs, Self-Insured by NSD. All subscribers will see some out of pocket payroll deduction increases in 2017. Out of pocket payroll increases will range from $15-$16 per month for single subscribers. Monthly full-family out of pocket payroll increases will vary depending on the plan selected, about $42 for High Deductible, $39 for Value, $89 for Standard and $114 for Choice. Employees should review their coverage and see what plans works best for them. For many employees switching from Choice to Standard or Standard to Value may make sense. Group Health is an attractive financial option for many employees currently on Choice or Standard, and Group Health offers more comprehensive coverage.

·         Dental Programs. For 2017, NSD will replace the self-insured NSD dental that is administered by Zenith, and purchase Metropolitan Life’s dental program. The Metropolitan program will be almost exactly the same as NSD dental, but with improvements. The dental maximum will increase from $2200 per person to $2500 and the orthodontia benefit will be increased by $500. No premium increase for those utilizing Willamette Dental.

·         Vision and Hearing Insurance. NSD will continue the self-insured the NSD vison/hearing program, but NSD will change the third party administrator from Zenith to Ameritas in 2017.  NSD will increase the hearing aid benefit from $500 to $1000 in 2017. 

·         Life Insurance. There will be a slight increase in premiums as premiums are tied to salaries and salaries are increasing.

·         More information on the web: Here is the link to the NSD Benefits Department web page, with lots of info, including the specific monthly premium costs you will pay for each plan, and the coverage (single, spouse, family) you choose:  http://www.nsd.org/Domain/82

 Questions? 8 AM to 4:30 PM: Lisa McLean, Manager of Benefits and HR Info Services 425.408.7611. lmclean@nsd.org OR Toni Damron, Benefits and Retirement Analyst. 425.408.7610.  OR Audrey Martin, Benefits and Workers Compensation Specialist. 425.408.7612 amartin@nsd.org