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Independent Schools Consortium Slams Brakes on Rising Health Care Costs

RADNOR, Pa., Sept. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Companies who want to reduce soaring health care costs could take a lesson from a consortium of independent schools and colleges based in suburban Philadelphia.

PAISBOA (Philadelphia Area Independent School Business Officers Association) has produced dramatic results in its efforts to slow down rising health care costs.

Premiums rise only 1.6%

Some 142 schools participating in the Insurance Group were thrilled to learn last month that – thanks to its excellent claims history and wellness initiatives – the group's health care premiums were going up just 1.6%.

This was welcome news to the business managers, who conservatively estimated 10% premium increases for 2012/13 budgets. Coming right before school opened, the timing also allowed them to quickly reallocate funds to curriculum programs.

"The 1.6% rise compares favorably to a national increase of 7.5% and local increase of 8.9%," says John Manion, PAISBOA's representative from broker Armstrong, Doyle and Carroll in Wayne, Pa.

Bob Mueller, chief financial officer at Delaware Valley Friends School and chairman of the Insurance Group committee, attributes PAISBOA's success to two key long-term strategies.

In 2012, PAISBOA:

  • Launched an aggressive Know Your Numbers campaign
  • Offered the "Naturally Slim®" Program at no cost to employees with Metabolic Syndrome. (This includes people with risk factors for high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.)

So far, nearly 1,000 employees covered by PAISBOA's insurance group have completed the Naturally Slim program, which helps reduce health risk factors by behavior modification.

Wellness Report Cards for schools

In 2011, PAISBOA's Insurance Group also established a Wellness Committee, and began issuing Wellness Report Cards to every school to encourage wellness initiatives. To remain a member in good standing with the group, schools must achieve a 50-point goal. A robust discussion group helps struggling schools reach their goals.

Free testing for successful schools

Schools that exceed expectations are rewarded with free metabolic testing for all of their employees, a significant cost-saver.

Thomas Taft, chief operating officer at Germantown Academy (GA), a school with 1,100 students, says the minimal 1.6% increase frees up $8,000 a month and almost $100,000 over 12 months. "These savings will immediately be applied to very tangible educational projects at the Academy," he says.

Emily Miller, Executive Director, PAISBOA, 215-435-5000
Bob Mueller, Chief Financial Officer, Delaware Valley Friends School, 610-226-5694

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