Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) Controlling Medical Costs
In a world where the healthcare system is changing on a daily basis due to sweeping federal changes under the Affordable Healthcare Act, constantly changing technology and an increasingly sick and aging population, most employers are faced with cutting benefits, eliminating benefits, or seeing astronomically high renewal rates. Bucking this trend is the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) which was a founding member of Valley Schools over a quarter century ago, which established a purchasing cooperative for school districts to pool their purchasing power to reduce costs. Starting first with liability insurance, then workers’ compensation, PVUSD moved its healthcare and other employee benefits under the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) nearly ten years ago now, and it has paid dividends.
Under the trust, PVUSD is able to choose its providers, plans and benefits as an individual district as it always has, while in returning receiving more choices, lower rates and expert consulting from the staff of VSEBT, Aon/Hewitt and Hays Consulting at no additional costs. This year, starting fiscal year July 1, 2014, PVUSD elected to break out their plan tiering into four tiers from the traditional two tiers which have been in place for several years. In simpler terms, they went from just single and family, to four levels determining how many are covered under the plan.
This represented a premium savings for employees who have a spouse or child(ren) only on their plan and only a slight increase for those with more family members. The district costs are expected to now be a 2.1% reduction from the prior 2013-14 plan year.
Not only are costs going down, but PVUSD was able to expand their preventive drug list for health savings account plan members which means more preventive drugs at a copay prior to meeting their deductible for those on the HDHP plan. That will provide additional savings to those employees and encourage better health in the long run by making preventive and maintenance drugs more affordable.
PVUSD also continues to focus on efforts to encourage good consumerism and physician quality, and cost and efficiency. They implemented the UHC Premium Provider Advantage Plan. Doctors who are rated both for high quality, satisfaction and efficiency receive two stars in the UHC network directory. If members choose a Premium Physician, they will have even lower co-pays. This allows the employee to remain in charge of their doctor choices while providing additional options for savings.
Congratulations to PVUSD for its ongoing cutting-edge vision for providing the best quality benefits to its staff and their families while utilizing innovative tools to reduce costs!