JACKSON, Mich. — The number of school districts moving out of its insurance plans is forcing the Michigan Education Special Services Association to offer more competitive pricing and varied health plans, school administrators told The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

Support staff employees or administrative employee groups in three Jackson-area school districts have agreed to switch to a different provider in order to save money, The Citizen Patriot reported. Those districts may ask teachers to do the same, the report said.

MESSA is a third-party insurance administrator affiliated with the Michigan Education Association; it sells Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan health insurance packages to a majority of Michigan public school districts.

MESSA spokesman Gary Fralick told The Citizen Patriot that MESSA lost about 2,000 members in the past year, partly due to school district downsizing. The association is prepared to compete with other providers, Fralick told The Citizen Patriot.

"I think MESSA's going to have to lower their premiums and make it more affordable to districts," Northwest school board President Chris Kelly told The Citizen Patriot.


The Jackson Citizen Patriot, "Is this the beginning of the end for MESSA?" July 31, 2010

Michigan Education Digest, "Rate hike takes up most of savings," May 7, 2010