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School board's health insurance fund improves

March 12, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Board of Education's health insurance fund is in much better shape then when it was briefly $254,000 in the red in 2001, Chris South, director of budget and finance, said Wednesday.

Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan pointed out the improved financial condition Tuesday during a joint meeting with the Washington County Commissioners.

"It is good news," South said during the meeting about getting out of a "deficit situation."

Washington County Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said he was pleased to hear the news and congratulated the board on the accomplishment.

The Board of Education's proposed budget for the 2004-2005 fiscal year that starts July 1 has $1.9 million in the health insurance fund, South said.

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That is a major improvement from 2001 when the school system ran into problems, he said.

In July 1, 2001, the fund was $254,000 in the red, he said.

In July 1, 2002, the fund had increased to $43,000 "in the good," he said.

In July 1, 2003, the fund had increased to $777,000, he said.

The problem in 2001 was that health insurance claims were more than anticipated and budgeted, he said.

In the years since 2001, actual claims have been less than budgeted which has allowed the fund to grow again, he said.

The Board of Education also made some health fund changes within the last year, including raising the portion of prescription drug costs paid by employees and retirees, he said.

Those changes will help ensure the fund will remain solvent, he said.

The Board of Education is self-insured, which means the health insurance claims are paid by money contributed by employees and the School Board contributions.

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