The Kirksville R-III School District could soon make significant changes to its employee health insurance plan as it seeks to address declining resources in its self-funded account.

Kirksville R-III Assistant Superintendent Tricia Reger told the School Board during its meeting Wednesday that the district’s cash balance to pay health insurance claims was around $525,000 at the end of September. The District targets a balance of around $1 million.

The self-funded plan has seen revenues this year of $2.5 million, a slight increase over last year, but disbursements of nearly $3 million, significantly higher than the same time in 2018.

Reger said the district is forecasting its cash balance will increase to around $655,000 by the end of October.

The R-III has assembled a committee of administrators, School Board members and teachers to examine options as open enrollment approaches in November. Reger said the district has been meeting with its current provider, GBS, as well as AssuredPartners and Wallstreet Group.

It seems likely the School Board will need to approve a transfer of funds to boost the insurance plan’s current balance, which it has done in the past.

It also seems to be a growing likelihood that the district will change insurance providers and overhaul its entire financial setup in time for November’s open enrollment.

As a self-funded insurance plan, the School District is essentially the insurance company, Kirksville Superintendent Robert Webb said. Funds contributed by the district and premiums paid by employees make up the pool of money from which health insurance claims are paid out.

The district itself has coverage for claims that exceed $85,000 annually, providing it some financial protection, but Webb said 75% fall under that amount.

“When you are the insurance company, the risk can be huge, and it is huge for us,” Webb said.

Changing the overall system to one in which the district is backed by an actual insurance company for more claims would reduce that risk and could allow the R-III to reallocate money to other areas.

One change for employees could come in the form of out-of-pocket costs, not including their own monthly premiums. The Kirksville R-III School District pays the monthly premiums for its full-time employees and Reger said there has been no discussion to change that.

“When we talk about potentially more out-of-pocket, we’re only talking about those people who are supporting their spouse and/or children on the insurance,” Reger said.

Other changes could include deductibles, co-pays and overall plan design. Webb said the end goal is to offer health insurance plans employees can better utilize, all while keeping out-of-pocket costs as low as possible.

School Board Member Dr. Adam Moore, who is serving on the health insurance committee, said the group is focused on controlling costs, especially in light of the pay raise it recently approved for faculty and staff. He said the goal is to not see those extra dollars eaten up by increases in health insurance costs.

In other business, the School Board…

- approved a contract with Catapult Learning for grades K-8 summer school in 2020. The summer school program offered in each of the last two years will be offered again. Both the K-8 program and high school credit recovery will run from May 26 to June 26.

- approved a $7,463.45 bid from Hillyard of Columbia, Mo., to purchase a riding auto scrubber to replace the unit at the Early Childhood Learning Center.

- approved an $11,249.09 bid from Petre Construction of St. Charles, Mo., to purchase two Sure Hands 1640 Mobile Floor Lifts that are used to assist students with disabilities.

- approved student attendance at the SkillsUSA Fall Leadership Conference, FCCLA Fall Leadership Conference and FFA National Convention.

- approved the purchase of a laser cutter/engraver for the Kirksville Area Technical Center. The $18,508.35 total purchase is largely covered by a grant that provides funding for 75% of the cost.