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    Loudoun School Board considers plan that could drastically change health care costs

    School Board member Bill Fox’s (Leesburg) proposed healthcare plan, which comes out of the board’s Personnel Committee, would drastically change health care costs for employees.

    The proposed plan would have Loudoun County Public Schools pay in the same amount per month for its Point of Sale (POS) and Open Access Plus (OAP) plan.

    That would save the school system $4 million in the first year and $8 million in the following years, according to Fox.

    The change would do little to dent the $55.9 million revenue gap from the Loudoun County’s budget, the expected result of a proposed 3-cent reduction on the equalized property tax rate.

    The school system proposed a budget totaling $876.4 million for fiscal 2014.

    The school system currently pays less into OAP than into POS, according to information on the school system’s website.

    For the OAP plan, the school system pays $607.50 a month and the employee pays $67.50. Under Fox’s proposal, the school system would pay $650.43 and the employee would pay nothing.

    On the current POS plan, the school system pays $561.74 and the employee pays $29.56. Under Fox’ proposal, the school system would pay $650.43 and the employee would pay $74.25.

    A family under the current POS plan pays $379.70 a month as their premium and the school system pays $1,307.84. Under Fox’s proposal, a family would pay $522.89 and the school system would pay $1,333.40.

    A family under the current OAP plan pays $325.22 and the school system pays $1,153.06. Under Fox’s proposal, a family would pay $292.70 and the school system would pay $1,333.40.

    The POS plan requires a primary physician and a referral for specialists, but has no deductible for in-network providers.

    There’s no co-pay for preventive care, screenings, immunizations, tests or imaging in-network, according to the school system’s website.

    Fox said both plans have “extraordinarily good coverage.”

    “About 90 percent of physicians accept the POS plan,” Fox said. “Ninety percent expect the OAP plan. It is not necessarily the case that it’s the same 90 percent.”

    The POS plan is overwhelmingly popular with school system employees. Only 200 of the school system’s employees don’t use it.

    “That choice costs Loudoun taxpayers an inordinate amount of money,” Fox said. “We’re not talking about thousands or hundreds of thousands, we’re talking about millions or tens of millions.”

    The OAP plan requires no primary physician or referrals for specialists, but has a $200 deductible per person for in-network and a $400 deductible for a family, according to the school system’s website.

    “Not only does this save LCPS money, but it’s fair,” Fox said. “I think it’s a good benefit that we have this more expensive POS plan that we offer.”

    Fox said his goal was to shift health care costs to the employee and make having both plans cost-neutral on the school system.

    “The cost should be on the employee who chooses that plan, rather than on the taxpayer’s level,” Fox said.

    School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger (Ashburn), agreed.

    “We are not supposed to give a preference, an incentive between plans,” Hornberger said. “And yet, the amount we’re subsidizing of them, in my opinion, a form of incentive. . . to be truly neutral is to be cost-neutral too.”

    Hornberger wondered if a large amount of employees taking the free OAP plan might accidentally drive up school system costs.

    Superintendent Edgar Hatrick said the school system offered a similar plan many years ago and most single employees signed up.

    “Then we went to $5 a month and then we actually started charging premiums,” Hatrick said. “I believe part of the reason for doing so was to get people off the list who were just carrying us on our insurance.”

    School Board Vice Chair Jill Turgeon (Blue Ridge) suggested that Cigna provide information sessions about the two different plans to employees as soon as possible if the change was going to be considered.

    “Engaging the employee in a conversation and educating them on the different aspects is very important,” Turgeon said. “As someone who’s been in the system for 10 years and likes to save as much money as possible, I was not aware of these different benefits for this other plan.”

    Comments

    Its not the teachers, admin, or other salaries, its the fact that this county is overdeveloped and lacks the funds to keep up with the schools it needs.  It needs corporate tax revenue, but all the jobs are in Fairfax.  They have better schools.  Our parents work in Fairfax and Loudoun pays for the kids to go to school.
    We need either more jobs in Loudoun or stop building developments hand over fist.  Building and funding schools in pricey- especially when you need a new high school every year just to keep up.
    Blame the BOS for approving all these developments from the corrupt developers.


    I hate to agree with Kenny F. Powers but thge numbers do not inicate a reduction in taxpayer costs no matter how I multiply and add them.


    LCPS’s healthcare plan is not a “cadillac” plan.  Copays for doctor visits and medications have increased, many Loudoun doctors do not accept our coverage, out-of-network services require $500 deductible, and retiree costs generally increase every year by 8-10 %.  Luckily, my family has good health and doctor visits are infrequent.

    Grousers complain about anything LCPS does!


    Its not the cost of the school, teachers, admin; its the lack of funds of this overdeveloped county that cant keep up with its population.  It doesnt have the tax revenue from businesses because all the places these student’s parents work are in Fairfax.  What do you get in Fairfax- some of the better schools in the country.

    Loudoun needs to figure out how to get more businesses out here to compensate for the ever growing developments.

    And all these people complaining about government workers and compensation for said government workers?  Why dont you ask your defense contractor neighbors making 6 figures where there companies revenue comes from.

    Anybody living in this high end- low employment area, should be kissing the governments you know what for supplying the jobs.  Yes there is the tech, but the tech is here bc DC and high number of college educated people are here.

    Its why people who want to cut the government budget around here, never seem to bring up defense.  Too cushy of salaries for defense contractors living in Fairfax and Loudoun.


    It’s not the teachers, it’s too many administrators!  Look at the administration building.  Does anyone know what those hundreds of people do?  How many ‘curriculum specialists’ do we need?  How many trainers to train teachers?  Why don’t we hire teachers who already know how to teach and eliminate teacher training?  How many administrators does a middle school need?  Surely it’s not a Principal, 3 assistant principles, and 3 Deans, plus numerous counselors.  Get rid of the bloated bureaucracy and put the money into the classroom/teachers!


    “It blows my mind that people think teachers earn too much…”

    Please note that LCPS is more than teachers.  There are a LOT of admin and other personnel (part of the problem).

    These arguments that we have to do it for the kids or the teachers all hide the fact that LCPS spends too much and costs too much.  Cost reductions need to come from somewhere and bringing in line a a very rich health insurance plan is a good place to start.


    It blows my mind that people think teachers earn too much or get too many benefits. Government workers who have higher educations are under paid compared to their private sector counterparts. Only Feds with no education who work up the ranks are over paid and that generation is dieing off.

    Why should we give then benefits? Its simple the children of Loudoun Co are just starting to compete against districts like Montgomery county and Fairfax county that have had 20 years more of prosperity that Loudoun did not have until about 10 years ago. now this county is full of educated well off workers that expect their kids to get a good education and expect the politicians to do right by them and will band together and vote them out if they don’t as the debate of distracting showed.

    @Loudoun County - Sounds like you got a bad job, my company and my wife’s company pay 80% of the cost of medical. Are you higher educated and working in the tech field? If so you may want to move to another job.


    I do see the numbers and have a difficult time seeing a reduction here. The numbers don’t jive.


    Are you really comparing the schools a sector of the government to the private sector????  They are two totally different entities. Therefore taxpayer money is responsible for education and the costs that come with it…ie employee benefits, salaries, student costs, transportation. Education is Jong private therefore the public pays. And it we aren’t willing to pay to educate our communities, we are going to eventually pay the cost and so are our children,mother future of this county.  Think about it and what you want to invest in.


    At my company, employees pay 50% of the insurance premium.  However LCPS ends up, they are all still getting a heck of a deal.


    That would save the school system $4 million in the first year and $8 million in the following years….

    ....The change would do little to dent the $55.9 million revenue gap

    Says who, Mr. Koepper?  Perhaps you are wealthy and $4M is chump change to you.  But $4M is $4M and it is a lot of money.  We need more changes like this at LCPS so we can keep costs contained and drive down propoerty taxes.

    If LCPS goes looking for a $56M magic bullet to take care of the difference in one fell swoop, they will never find it.  We need this and a bunch of other changes that, when all added up, will save the taxpayers money.

    Thank you to Mr. Fox for putting forth the idea.


    Not seeing Fox’s numbers add up.  Currently for the OAP plan,  LCPS is paying $607.50 and employee pays $67.50, but he is proposing LCPS pay $650.43, and the employee pays nothing?  How is this saving the county money?  Similar numbers on the POS plan.  Everybody else seeing this?


    Let’s be really radical and offer the public sector plans that are comparable with the private sector.  Or better yet, everybody that voted for Obama should get the Obama plan. (That would be “free”, right?)

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