Employees expect employers to provide health insurance and pay for it. Employers do the former but never the later…………………….
Eagle Pass, Texas is located out in the middle of nowhere. You can’t get there from here unless you’re lost. The largest employer in town is the school district with about 1,800 full time employees. They are among the highest paid public educators in Texas.
Median salary is $52,118 representing an average salary 6 percent higher than USA average and median salary is 20 percent higher than USA median.
Eagle Pass ISD is paying the highest health insurance rates we’ve seen among Texas public school districts. The district’s health insurance contribution for 2021-2022 was $10,248 per employee. That brings the total average salary plus benefits to $62,366 of which 16% is for health insurance.
Employers don’t pay a dime for health insurance and never have. Employees pay for company sponsored health insurance in the form of lower wages. They just don’t know it.
As a guide and useful tool for district employees to better understand their true salary, a Salary Reduction Table is conveniently located on the district’s website.
If employees ever come to understand they are the ones paying 16% of their income for health insurance and not their employer you would have to believe they would start shopping for health insurance somewhere else.
District employees might ask “Why aren’t we with TRS ActiveCare? We can save a lot of money and have better coverage if we joined the state plan!”
They would be delighted to learn that’s entirely possible.
At current contribution levels, based on 1,800 employees, Eagle Pass ISD is spending $13,776,000. If the district moved to TRS ActiveCare and paid for the TRS High Deductible plan, the spend would reduce to $7,711,000. The savings would be $6,065,000 which would be more than enough to fund a HRA which in turn would effectively provide district employees with better benefits while still saving taxpayers a lot of money.
The district’s contribution towards health insurance premium would reduce from $10,248 to $4,284. Some of the difference can be returned to employees in the form of higher wages.
All it takes is for one employee to hire a smart attorney to sue the district for violation of fiduciary duties for failure to ensure plan assets are spent prudently and wisely. That’s fairly common with retirement plans and it’s a growing phenomenon in plan sponsored health insurance these days.
When was the last time the district went to bid on their health insurance? With rates as high as they are, it has likely been a long time passing since competitive bids were solicited. Maybe its time to do so?