SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE!
I will be setting forth several proposals regarding next school year’s budget this Thursday at the final community budget meeting. See related Newsbits article for an invitation to attend along with time and place information. The discussions have been easier this year than other legislative years due to the fact that the legislature has passed and the Governor has already signed HB27 that provides for inflationary increases over the biennium. This happening is historic because the main component of educational funding is known early in the session and it contained increases. For GFPS, it contained an increase of $1.88 million. That’s a good chunk of money and the District is very thankful for it. But here’s the depressing part: 37% of it is estimated to go to pay for health insurance premium increases.
My very cloudy crystal ball is estimating a 10% increase in health insurance premiums. The District’s general fund increase for just this one thing is estimated at $694,000. This is money that will not be used to hire additional staff to support learning, or for raises for our hardworking employees, or for purchasing much needed technology enhancements, or for our aging facilities. This is money that will be paid out for never-ending increases in health insurance claims. It’s not like Cigna is getting the money. Currently, the health insurance plan is overspending by 9% as claims outpace premiums. This has been the case year after year. Something has to give!
We cannot control what doctors and hospitals charge. We cannot control the increasing costs of medical procedures. The one and only thing we can control is our health and thus our health insurance claims. The healthier we are as a group, the fewer number of claims the plan will have to pay. I know that things happen. People get sick or have accidents, and they absolutely must have care and that’s what health insurance is for. But prevention and taking a close look at personal health can go a long way to avoiding costly acute health issues.
A good first step is to take the Health Risk Assessment being offered by your GFPS Wellness Team. By answering a few questions, you will get a snapshot of your personal health status. That’s the easy, but essential part. The next step requires you to look inward once you get those results. What are they telling you? Is your weight putting you at risk? Are your eating habits contributing to ill health? Is your lack of exercise a problem? Is alcohol or tobacco a risk factor? If every person improved their health via an honest look at the assessment results followed by some personal action, we could collectively gain control of the one thing that really matters: our health.
I ask you to see your building’s Wellness Coordinator today to see how to take the assessment. Something has to give. Maybe a concerted health effort could give us the return on investment we so desperately need.
Take care. Stay safe. Be well.