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School District Hires Health Benefits Consultant

CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – The Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education has approved the district administration’s recommendation that it hire a health benefits consultant for a limited review.

The consultant would examine all current health plans in an effort to optimize their performance, create new efficiencies, and improve wellness programs.

District officials said it was important to note that this was not an attempt to change the specific benefits employees receive since that is a collective bargaining matter. The district’s unions have all been a part of the effort to hire the consultant.

Superintendent Dr. Paul Kreutzer said that financial pressures facing school districts – especially in light of the 2 percent property tax cap – are prompting new ways to manage and control overall expenditures in order to preserve core staff and programs. He said one of the more complex areas of district expenses concern employee health benefit programs.

“These programs include the involvement of a number of third-party companies, numerous options, and layers of administrative work,” he said. “Many of these programs are undoubtedly excellent and offer efficient services to our staff, but there has never been a formal objective analysis of this area.”

Four firms responded to the district’s request for proposals and two firms were interviewed by a district committee comprised of teachers, support staff members, administrators, community members, board members, and district office administrators. The committee ultimately recommended Willis Inc., a global benefits company that is publically traded, and has expertise in this area of work.

It was agreed by the committee that while the area of health benefit programs is large, the school board should not make a commitment to a consultant until the quality of the consultant’s work is proven. The board agreed with the recommendation. Therefore, the first phase of work will only focus on pharmacy benefits. The consultant will be doing a market analysis of pharmacy benefit managers, inclusive of Katonah-Lewisboro’s pharmacy manager, at a cost of $20,000. Its work is expected to be completed in April and officials hope it will help the school district make the best decisions in the future for its staff and its community.

It is expected that the committee will reconvene to consider additional consulting work in other health benefit programs.

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