The significance of planning for health and wellness in businesses across the country has been a priority for employers that has transformed over the past several years. School districts are also facing these challenges and are learning to incorporate policies and programs that benefit employees. MSD of North Posey is fortunate to serve as a leader for other local school districts, and the efforts of the district’s Wellness Committee is now paying off.
For two years, a group of teachers and staff members have been meeting with various advisors, traveling to businesses, and surveying employees in efforts to create positive changes after insurance increases had affected employees for multiple years. Increases up to 33 percent in health care costs had been levied on the district’s employees by former providers which prompted necessary changes that included adding a wellness clinic and moving to a partially self-funded policy. Wellness Committee member and North Posey High School math teacher, Patrick Rose, stated, “I volunteered to be on the Wellness Committee due to the rising cost of health insurance. Over the past three years we have been able to reduce the rise in insurance costs by creating health savings account insurance options for employees,opening a wellness clinic which is available to employees of the corporation, and joining an insurance coop to help control health care costs.”
The combination of the clinic utilization and a change of the health care provider has deemed virtually no increase in premiums for the upcoming year. This equates to a premium savings of $170,000 for the district; based on the 12 percent industry trend for premium increases. Now, districts that include Warrick and Vanderburgh, as well as Mount Vernon, are following suit with similar changes. Scott Shouse, a consultant with Assured Neace Lukens that represents MSDNP’s health insurance program commented, “The MSDNP Health & Wellness committee should be commended for the amount of time invested in this analysis, and ultimately, recommendation to the board. The first health insurance renewal under this program resulted in no increase for the 2014-15 plan year. I have represented the corporation for more than a dozen years, and I feel that as a result of the model put in place, that MSDNP’s health insurance program is as sustainable for the future as it’s ever been.”
The Wellness Committee is also committed to providing incentives for those employees seeking to gain healthier lifestyles. Programs, such as Shape Up For Santa, has engaged employees in wellness activities and created an awareness for fitness. North Posey Junior High Physical Education Teacher, Krystle Roudebush claimed, “The M.S.D. of North Posey County Wellness Committee has encouraged and continues to encourage the employees of our district to be well and has been making great strides in creating opportunities for our employees to do just that. This October, our committee will launch its fourth fitness challenge within the past year. Our ‘Fall into Fitness’ program will focus on getting participants moving, as it is all activity based. Our fitness challenges are just one of the many things we are doing to meet the goal of striving for total wellness.”