WATERFORD, Mich. - Waterford School District saved $550,000 in two months through a new health care plan for teachers, The Oakland Press reported, but the plan remains a sticking point in union negotiations.

The district and the teacher's union are operating under a contract extension with a new health plan in place, The Press reported. Union members are concerned that they will have to pay more out of pocket if Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the underwriter, begins to charge more for the policy, according to The Press.

"We're also waiting to get feedback from our members as to how well the new health-care plan covers their needs," Marcy Felegy, Michigan Education Association Uniserv Director, told the Press. "There has been some confusion as to how our members can adjust to the plan and we're expecting (future) rate changes."

The teachers and the district have agreed to a 2 percent to 4 percent salary increase that took effect in August 2008, the Press reported.

"The savings we achieved the first two months that (health) plan was in place was greater than we even anticipated," board trustee John Himmelspach told The Press. "I am hopeful we could save as much as $1 million over the course of a full calendar year for the district, but we're not sure what the final numbers will be. Either way it will be significant."

 While the district says the health care savings made it possible to offer raises, Felegy said that the union members "bought" their raises by extending the salary schedule, The Press reported.

SOURCE:
The Oakland Press, "Waterford teachers, board agree on extension," Jan. 27, 2009

FURTHER READING:
Michigan Education Report, "Customers ask for details on potential Blue Cross hike," Jan. 20, 2009

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