Looking to ease the burden of rising health-care costs to school employees, the Carroll Board of Education last week unveiled a new plan to subsidize one of its insurance packages.
The board has proposed boosting its share of the cost of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield custom comprehensive plan. The measure would reduce workers' costs and make that plan, which requires employees to pay a percentage of their medical bills, more attractive.
The majority of workers are enrolled in a traditional plan, which provides complete coverage for many major medical bills.
School officials said they expect the cost of that package to increase by about 50 percent next year. Employees would have to pick up half that cost.
William H. Hyde, Carroll's assistant superintendent of administration, said the increase under the traditional plan is more than the board can afford and more than workers can afford.
"We don't want people in the traditional plan," Hyde said. "It's going to break you and it's going to break us. Make no bones about it -- we want out of the traditional plan."
By choosing the custom comprehensive plan, workers would pay $10.95 monthly for individual coverage and $91.32 for family coverage. With the board boosting its share of the cost, current rates -- $19 monthly for an individual and $101.56 for a family -- would actually decline.
Costs under the traditional plan next year would rise from $31.78 to $66.47 monthly for an individual and from $153.27 to $243.44 monthly for a family.
The proposal was presented to four of the five groups negotiating contracts with the board. The fifth group, the association representing clerical and secretarial workers, will receive the proposal next week.