MESSA Rates up 20 Percent in Port Huron

PORT HURON, Mich. - Another public school district is facing a large jump in the cost of health insurance sold by the Michigan Education Special Services Association, a third-party administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association.

The Port Huron Area School District will pay 20.5 percent more in premiums as of July 1, The (Port Huron) Times Herald reported, following a nearly 19 percent increase last year. The higher rate will cost $2.4 million, according to Tina Kostiuk, executive director for business and finance, The Times Herald reported.

Kostiuk said the district will use $300,000 from fund equity to cover part of the cost, but has not yet decided how to pay for the remainder, according to The Times Herald.

MESSA spokesman Gary Fralick said that the association changed its insurance pooling system after the Public Employers Health Benefit Act was adopted in 2007, The Times Herald reported. Larger districts are now rated individually according to their actual medical claims, rather than being placed into regional pools, Fralick told The Times Herald.

He said that Port Huron's claims in such areas as hospitalization, specialist visits and office visits were higher than the statewide average, leading to the higher rates, according to The Times Herald.

The (Port Huron) Times Herald, "Districts see big jump in insurance premiums," April 28, 2010

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Michigan School District Health Insurance (database), Port Huron Area School District, 2008-2009