Updates on CISD Health Insurance

Superintendent Galaviz Dear Canutillo Community,

As you may know, we are dealing with a difficult budget season this school year. The Board approved a budget that included a deficit of $3 million largely in part to the inability by the state to disseminate any of the billions of dollars in surplus funding available down to public education. Once again, school districts are left to fend for themselves and continue to bear the burden of having to provide our employees with pay raises and our students with top-notch educational services with fewer and fewer resources.

Unfortunately, that means that we have to make some sacrifices. One of them is coming up for discussion by the Board of Trustees. For years, Canutillo ISD has enjoyed one of the most robust and affordable health insurance plans in all of the region. This self-funded plan allowed employees to access their preferred doctors and providers all at lower premiums. We did so because the Board and Administration invested millions of dollars into the plan so that monthly premiums could remain low.

However, due to extreme hikes in health care costs and record number of claims due to illness, the self-funded option for Canutillo now seems out of reach. To put it bluntly, keeping the plan we have right now would require employees to increase their premiums by 175 percent. For some employees, that means their monthly contributions would increase from $772 a month to $2,123.

Obviously, that’s unrealistic. So the District is looking at other options, none of which seem to hurt any less. The other options include switching over to a privately funded plan that lets us keep our access to providers as we have it right now, but still raises our premiums, albeit by less than the self-funded option. The other option is to switch to the TRS fully-insured plan that actually lowers our monthly premiums, but creates some circumstances that are less than favorable. For instance, we are limited to Texas providers only, which may create problems if an employee lives in New Mexico or has children in college out of state. It also switches two of our three plans from PPO to HMO, which means the network of providers may not include our preferred doctors.

There are pros and cons to all plans and we are outlining them with our employees so that they can give us input. A survey went out to all employees this Friday with details on the proposed plans. We will present this information to the Board of Trustees who must make the final call on this issue.

Healthcare is an important part of the benefits we provide and we strive to keep providing high quality benefits. We will continue to do everything we can to remain the district of choice for employees.

Have a restful and blessed weekend.

Pedro Galaviz
Superintendent of Schools