Leelanau area schools do the math on health insurance

LEELANAU COUNTY, Mich. — Teachers who now contribute nothing toward their own health insurance premiums would have to pay between $3,600 and $4,500 a year to keep their current benefit levels if the state Legislature adopts legislation requiring a 20 percent contribution, the Leelanau Enterprise reported.

Those numbers are based on the current cost of health insurance provided to instructional staff in Northport, Suttons Bay, Leland and Glen Lake, which ranges from $18,000 to $22,700 annually for a family plan, the Enterprise reported. None of those employees currently contribute to the premium cost except for Northport, where they pay approximately $200 annually, according to the Enterprise.

Paying 20 percent would cost teachers less than an alternate plan to cap the amount each district pays for health insurance to $13,000 per employee annually, the Enterprise reported. Under that plan, teachers would pay amounts ranging from $5,000 to $9,700 annually to retain current benefit levels, according to the report.

Northport, Suttons Bay and Leland purchase health insurance through the Michigan Education Special Services Association, an affiliate of the Michigan Education Association. Glen Lake teachers are organized through the Michigan Federation of Teachers and receive coverage through Michigan Employee Benefits Services, according to the Enterprise.

Gov. Rick Snyder has said that much of a proposed cut in school aid in 2012 could be absorbed by requiring public school employees to contribute to their benefit packages, the Enterprise reported.

Leelanau Enterprise, “Teachers would pay under new budget,” May 5, 2011

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Benefits or Jobs: Schools, Legislature Must Choose,” Feb. 18, 2011