BAY CITY, Mich. - Bay City teachers will retain Michigan Education Special Services Association insurance but be charged a deductible under the terms of a new two-year contract, The Bay City Times reported. The contract also provides step or wage increases depending on the teacher's length of service.

Teachers will pay a $200 individual or $400 family deductible for the preferred provider plan, according to The Times. The district will save about $1.4 million on health care under the new system, which will be used to offset the cost of raises.

After rejecting a contract offer in October, Bay City Education Association members approved the latest proposal in a 363-64 vote, according to The Times. The teachers are the only unionized employees still receiving MESSA insurance; all other bargaining units have switched to a less expensive Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, The Times reported.

MESSA is a third-party administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association that outsources insurance underwriting to Blue Cross Blue Shield and then resells the packages to Michigan schools.

Superintendent Carolyn Wierda called the contract fair, while BCEA President Kevin Stapish said the favorable vote shows "that it is a good agreement, especially in these economic times," The Times said.

SOURCE:
The Bay City Times, "Teachers will pay health care deductible under new contract," Dec. 2, 2008

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Blue Cross and MESSA," Sept. 6, 2006

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