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Health Insurance

Kansas NEA believes that quality health care and the comprehensive health insurance coverage that pays for it are both vital to our members. KNEA also believes that as the employer, school districts and community colleges have a responsibility to provide access to that coverage at a reasonable cost to the employee.

It’s not news that the cost of health care is rapidly rising, and the trend shows no sign of abating. Kansas NEA is committed to helping members understand and respond most effectively to the rapidly increasing costs associated with health care. We are especially concerned with the most recent changes in the health care field that sacrifice quality plan design to reduce premium cost, a move that disproportionately benefits the employer at the expense of our members.

Maintaining high quality and reasonably priced health insurance continues to challenge local Associations. Health care costs continue to grow far faster than inflation, and local bargaining teams have a difficult time proposing suitable fringe benefits with such limited money. It seems a vicious cycle with no end in sight; most of our raises get immediately sucked up by escalating insurance premiums. Often, those on family plans suffer a net loss in pay after raises are added in and insurance is taken out.

Kansas NEA believes that we must close the information gap to best prepare our members to make choices that are in their collective best interests.

These are just a few resources available to KNEA members.

More Than An Apple a Day: A KNEA Member Guide to Health Care & Health Insurance
From your UniServ Office
The KNEA Health Insurance Work Team looked for a resource that would help KNEA members best understand health insurance and be accurate and relevant to their situation. We wanted a resource that was specific to employer-provided public-sector health insurance in Kansas. We found nothing. So the Work Team wrote the booklet More Than An Apple A Day: A Member Guide to Health Care and Health Insurance.

The booklet includes information about many topics, including KNEA’s views on health insurance, Consumer Driven Health Plans, Health Savings Accounts and a great deal of general information about group health plans and how they function in Kansas schools. Included in the booklet are tools to better compare competing plans and an extensive glossary of specialized terms. Copies of the booklet are free and available from your UniServ office.

In addition, two types of training are available. Both are customized to meet local needs. The first is for those preparing to bargain health insurance.  The second is for district health insurance committees. Again, for details, contact your UniServ Director.

Kansas Insurance Department
An excellent resource for anyone interested in knowing more about health insurance, especially in Kansas, is the Kansas Insurance Department. KID has proven to be an effective advocate for consumers. In fact, in 2008, they recovered over $13 million for Kansas consumers. Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger writes an insightful monthly column posted on the website. Especially helpful when considering carrier changes is the complaint ratio section of the website. It lists every insurance company, the dollars of premiums they sell in the state and the percentage of complaints (so it’s adjusted for volume) received by KID.

Kansas Health Institute
Originally formed to be an accurate and unbiased source of information to Kansas lawmakers and other policy-makers, it is also available for the interested public and is a frequently updated site for Kansas health care and health insurance news.

Kansas Health Policy Authority
If you are interested in the State Plan, go to this website. Look for the State Plan link and then go to the “Non State Groups” link. The site includes information about the plan itself, the requirements for the employer and
the employee.

Kaiser Family Foundation
On a national level, the Kaiser Family Foundation provides excellent material on a wide variety of health insurance issues. They do a terrific job of collecting information, especially on employer-provided plans.

Consumers Union
There is an extensive section on health care and health insurance and it is especially helpful for information on prescription medicines.


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