Teachers Pay More of Health Care Costs
Report shows impact of Act 10. Critics charge costs are helping cause teacher shortage.
A new state report shows the average Wisconsin school employee is covering much more of the cost of their own health care since the passage of Act 10, the legislation that limited collective bargaining for many public sector workers in 2011.
In the 2017-2018 school year, school district employees paid an average of roughly 12 percent of their premiums, according to the data collected by the Department of Administration.
That’s compared to the 5 percent the Wisconsin Association of School Boards found employees paid in the 2010-2011 school year.
For years, teachers had been negotiating better health benefits in exchange for lower pay, Brey said, and despite higher costs of care, salaries aren’t catching up post Act 10.
Maximum out of pocket costs for a single person can run up to $12,000. For a family, that can run up to $24,000.
Brey also argues that while the passage of Act 10 was supposed to help solve the state’s fiscal problems, schools are paying the price.
“Schools are still going to referendum at an extremely large frequency to just make ends meet in their districts,” she said.
Still, John Stellmacher, director of business services for the Hartford J1 School District, said employee turnover has been modest there.
But Stellmacher said his district, which employs about 190 people, does have a more limited applicant pool to choose from than it did five years ago.
Hartford district employees have to pay about 21 percent of their premiums for both single and family health plans, which Stellmacher said makes the district more like the private sector in the area.
The out of pocket maximum for an individual is $4,500. For a family, the maximum is $9,000.
Stellmacher said the passage of Act 10 has made the district increase teachers’ starting salaries to $40,000 dollars from $30,000 to remain competitive.
“We’re trying to innovate and present compensation that’s attractive to bring good people to Hartford while also realizing the financial constraints that we have,” he said.
While Hartford employees don’t have to pay the highest premiums, they are on the higher end of the spectrum.
The highest individual contribution runs at almost 34 percent; the highest family contribution runs at almost 28 percent. The lowest single and family contributions fall under 2 percent.
“While many government employee out-of-pocket costs went from nothing to something, the (average) monthly employee contribution for employer-based health insurance is still greater than for school districts,” he said.
Listen to the WPR report here.
Teachers Are Covering More Of Their Health Care Costs Since Passage Of Act 10 was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.