Grand Rapids Public Schools Will Hold Employee Health Insurance Policy, Possibly Saving $1M

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The district prior to action this week listed the Michigan Special Services Association, or MESSA, as its policy holder of record. Changes made in 2011 to the state’s Public Employment Relations Act allow school districts to designate policy holders and no longer allows that as a negotiable item in union contracts.

District leaders could continue to designate MESSA as its policy holder but have said they don’t have access to actual medical claims experience allowing for more precise bids from other insurance carriers.

Staff stressed they have no more access to personal medical information than before and that the move still requires them to bargain with labor groups over the level of benefits the district provides.

“It does not change our obligation to bargain benefit levels with employee groups,” said Julie Davis, the district’s executive director of business and finance.

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