Accomack School Insurance Skyrockets

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By Stefanie Jackson – Accomack County School Board employees will pay more for their health insurance because the number of large claims is at an all-time high.

Accomack schools Finance Director Beth Onley told the school board that employee insurance premiums are rising nearly 6.5% because the quantity of large health insurance claims is “bigger than it’s ever been.”

The increase in insurance premiums is due to the school district having 16 large claims of $50,000 or more this year, and 15 of the claims are ongoing. Two of the claims were more than $300,000. Typically, the school district will have about five or six large claims in one year, including maybe four ongoing claims.

“There’s not too much that we can argue about … when we have so many ongoing claims,” Onley said.

She noted that only premiums, not deductibles, would increase. A single employee would pay roughly $11 more per semi-monthly paycheck for health insurance, or about $270 more per year.

The school board unanimously passed Onley’s recommendation on health insurance as presented.

Co-insurance takes effect after an employee meets the deductible of $750 for a single person but before the out-of-pocket maximum of $4,000 is reached.

Onley discovered that only 2.65% of employees met their deductibles, so very few people would be impacted by the percentage decrease in co-insurance, and she agreed to the insurance company’s offer.

Last year, the school district’s health insurance company recommended a 7% premium increase that was reduced to a 3.5% increase. The total amount of insurance claims in 2021 was 81% of premiums paid; the target is 75%.

This year, that percentage rose further off the mark to 85%. An 11.5% premium increase was recommended, which was later reduced to 7.5% but was still more than double last year’s increase.

The premium increase was further reduced to 6.4% on the condition that the amount of co-insurance paid would be lowered from 75% to 70%.

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