NewsTreasure CoastRegion Martin County


Martin County to subsidize teachers' health insurance costs with American Rescue Plan funds

Move could save some families up to $120 per month
Posted at 5:50 AM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 08:36:41-04

STUART, Fla. — Teachers and school district employees in one Treasure Coast county will soon be saving big when it comes to health insurance premiums.

School board members in Martin County voted Tuesday to allocate funds from the American Rescue Plan to subsidize a 6.1% increase in insurance costs.

The move could save some families up to $120 per month depending on the type of health plan.

School district leaders said an additional $2.1 million dollars in covid claims filed in 2021 caused the increase in premiums.

"Our employees have an increase in homeowners' insurance, in gas, in rent and in all kinds of things," said Julie Sessa, the risk management director for the Martin County School District. "So, they really felt there is something they could do to offset our employees' daily expenses by using the ARP funds up to $2 million to offset our employees' increase in premiums."

Costs for each type of plan are shown below.

High deductible health plans did not see any increase in premiums.

Instead, school district leaders said those plans will see an increased employer contribution of $500 towards a health savings account.

There are about 2,000 employees in the Martin County School District that are benefit eligible.

"With the school board's decision on using the $2 million, the employees will not see an increase in any plan or tier starting July 1," said Sessa. "So, what they have in place coming out of their paychecks now will be the same as July 1."

Sessa said the district got approval to use funds from the American Rescue Plan to subsidize increased costs because covid claims were the reason for the increase.

She said ARP funds are usually reserved for recovering learning loss from the pandemic, including hiring additional support staff and purchasing 24/7 tutoring apps for students.