More options and lower premium costs were the reasoning behind the Magnolia ISD school board’s decision to join an interlocal agreement for health benefits services in a meeting May 11.
Erich Morris, assistant superintendent of operations for MISD, said in a video recording at the meeting that he anticipates substantial savings for employees through the program.
“[Employees will] have new options for the first time in almost 20 years,” Morris said.
The plan is self-funded, and Morris said the district has built a conservative budget, which takes into consideration several years' worth of claims and revenue available based on employee and district contribution to health insurance.
Morris said this plan was something he was encouraged and excited about offering employees some options.
Superintendent Todd Stephens said the district has a favorable health portfolio, which helps to lower possible health care costs.
“All this does is give [employees] another choice,” he said. “The [existing] plan is still there for them, at the same price.”
Stephens said the worst possible outcome of this new plan would be the state saying the district can’t do this.
The plan is self-covered and -funded, Stephens said, and a budget is set for it.
Another part of the plan is a primary clinic that will be embedded into MISD and free for employees to use, Stephens said.
“A doctor and health care workers [will be brought in] to man that clinic wherever that’s going to be located,” Stephens said.
No details have been confirmed for where the clinic would be located, Morris confirmed in an email May 14.
Having a clinic available drastically brings down the cost for district employees, Stephens said.
“We are excited to see what that looks like when it is on the ground,” he said.