Wisconsin Act 10 Commentary: Madison schools are near the low end of what districts now require for teacher health insurance premium contributions, at 3 percent,

Mark Sommerhauser:

Wisconsin school districts ratcheted up health care costs on teachers and other employees after the state’s Act 10 collective bargaining changes, with the average district now requiring teachers to pay about 12 percent of their health insurance premiums, newly released data show.

Madison schools are near the low end of what districts now require for premium contributions, at 3 percent, according to the data, released by Gov. Scott Walker’s Department of Administration.

It’s the first time the state has released a comprehensive look at teacher health care costs in all 422 of the state’s public school districts after the 2011 enactment of Act 10.

And it’s one more example of the far-reaching scope of the law — in this case, how it paved the way for state and local workers to pay much more for benefits. The 2017-19 state budget required the Department of Administration to collect the data, which is from the 2017-18 school year.

Barry Forbes, associate executive director for the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, said the figures show health care costs for school district employees generally matching “what greater society is experiencing now.”

U.S. health care spending grew 4.3 percent in 2016, reaching $3.3 trillion or $10,348 per person. As a share of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for. More. Families in high-deductible plans must pay more than $2,600 out of pocket, $4,332 on average, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Once workers have surpassed their deductibles, they pay an average $24 copay for a primary care office visit, $37 for a specialty care office visit, and $308 for a hospital admission. Sep 22, 2015

“Unsustainable” benefit costs.