County school board meets with final two candidates for health insurance

Thursday’s Carter County School Board workshop featured two presentations from the finalists of the board’s RFP into health insurance brokers: Sequoyah and Five Points.

Sequoyah representative Kelly Geer, who also worked with Carter County’s commission on its own health insurance plans last year, said the common goal of self-funded health insurance has some misconceptions among governments and school districts.

“Claims are claims,” Geer said.

These claims, she said, no matter how unexpected, can cost a patient $30,000 depending, meaning a good health insurance needs to account for that.

“If your employees are not happy, you are not going to be happy,” she said.

Five Points said one of their biggest points of focus is compiling claims data, information they said is vital to determining how rates will go up in the first place.

“It is not as simple as getting money from the BEP based on population,” CEO James Smith said.

They said they get their data from a wide variety of sources, including hiring lobbyists to keep track of congressional trends at the state level.

Five Points has also worked with the school system directly in the past, and has worked with 55 school systems, compared to Sequoyah’s relative lack of school-specific experience.

Both groups agreed immediately pulling out of the state pool to go to self-funding is not a good idea at the moment.

“It does not make sense for you,” he said.

The board will further discuss health insurance during their regular meeting later in the month.

The school system’s 5-year plan is ready for its yearly review, additions to which, including updated numbers, are due to the state on March 2.

“You will notice a lot of the things on here are what we talk about every month,” Federal Project Director Jerri Nave said.

Director of Schools Kevin Ward said he recently had a teleconference with Ballad Health about the spreading flu epidemic, saying they would be monitoring the situation.

The board will start monitoring attendance on Monday, and officials will be watching over the situation to see if cancelling school over the flu will be necessary.

The board meets again on Thursday, Jan. 23, at 5:30 p.m. at 305 Academy St.

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