Dental premium increase may prompt actuary study for Sullivan schools

Rick Wagner • Dec 6, 2018 at 1:41 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Dental insurance premiums are going up for Sullivan County Schools retirees, and they could go up for current employees soon.

And part of the answer to that could be an actuary study, but it would be on more than just dental insurance and include current employees.

The Board of Education  during its Tuesday meeting voted 7-0 to increase retiree dental insurance premiums by $1 a month for individuals, $6 a month for two people and $25 a month for a family, the first increase since 2006. The rate hike was recommended by Blue Cross Blue Shield, which administers the system’s self-funded dental plan.

In related actions, the board voted by the same margin to:

— Put out a request for proposals for an actuary study Director of Schools Evelyne Rafalowski said would be done “for all insurances in our school district” and the first since the early 2000s. BOE Chairman Michael Hughes said the system will look at going on the state dental insurance plan and other potential vendors for the 2019-20 school year.

— Appointed school board members Mark Ireson, Jane Thomas and Paul Robinson to the collaborative conferencing Special Question Committee, along with Sullivan County Education Association President Jeremy McGlothlin, a Central High teacher; Professional Educators of Sullivan County President Kim Blevins, a Bluff City Middle teacher; and Kristi Richardson, a speech therapist at Ketron Elementary. 

The system’s employees are on Tennessee health insurance plans.

At a work session Nov. 29, Hughes said that in deference to the collaborative conferencing process, which will occur if enough teachers and professional staff vote for it to occur, he wanted to wait to do any changes to active employee dental insurance. The special committee met immediately after the board meeting to phrase the question, which professional staff will vote on soon in a process the committee will oversee.

Collaborative conferencing, which replaced collective bargaining, can address insurance rates.

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