FLINT, Mich. - Flint Community Schools can change health insurance providers for teachers despite their protests, a Genesee County judge has ruled, according to The Flint Journal.

Judge Joseph Farah said that the district is within its rights to end its current contract with the Michigan Education Special Services Association, an insurance administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association, and instead purchase insurance from HealthPlus of Michigan.

United Teachers of Flint had sought to block the move, saying the switch would constitute a change in benefits. The district contended that the new program provides the same benefits but at a lower cost, according to The Journal.

Teachers told The Journal they are concerned their health care benefits will be reduced, but a district spokesman said they have no plan to change coverage levels.

"When the district set out about trying to review its options its goals was to provide the same coverage for all teachers at a more manageable cost," said Bob Campbell, spokesperson for the district, The Journal reported. The new contract is expected to save up to $3 million.

The union and district currently are negotiating over a new employment contract; a fact finder was scheduled to hear evidence in that case on Nov. 11, according to The Journal.

The Flint Journal, "Judge says Flint school district can switch insurance providers," Oct. 30, 2009


Michigan Education Report, "It's up to school boards to save insurance dollars," Nov. 14, 2007