GILLETTE, Wyo. — Campbell County School District will continue to fully cover employees’ service fees for health savings accounts while meeting a vendor’s request for additional funding, the school board unanimously decided Nov. 14.
Human Resources Manager Larry Reznicek said at the board meeting that health savings accounts are a way to educate consumers on healthcare costs. Money that goes into the account and out of the account is tax-free, and it reduces an employee’s overall gross income year-to-year. Employees keep the money and can use it for any healthcare-related item. Many save it for retirement healthcare. Since 2008, the district has offered health savings accounts with ANB Bank.
Currently, school district employees pay nothing for the account while the district pays $3 per month per employee, Reznicek said in an email Nov. 15. Beginning in January, the bank will charge each employee $5 per month to manage their account. Since the district already budgets $3 per employee per month, it will shift the monies to the employee and add another $2 per employee per month to cover the additional cost. Annually, the district would pay an additional roughly $15,872 for the 661 employees who are currently account holders.
Last year, the bank approached the district and said that, with each of their clients, employees pay $5 monthly as a service charge, Reznicek said at the meeting. While $60 per year might not sound like a lot for an employee to pay, the district has been offering the service since 2008 and it has not raised its contributions to health savings accounts since 2016 or 2017.
“If we pass on the monthly fees to our employees, it would be seen as a takeaway of an established benefit,” he said.
The district issued a request for proposal for alternative providers for the health savings accounts and received two responses, according to Reznicek. He recommended staying with ANB because the changing vendors would require a significant amount of time for district employees to open accounts with bank employees. Each would need to visit the bank to show their ID, sign the paperwork and open a health savings account. It would likely frustrate many employees, and it would not save the district much money.
School board chair Anne Ochs said at the meeting that it is almost like an inflationary cost for running the program.
In other news
Ochs said in the dinner meeting that the board will begin, starting in January 2024, to have quarterly executive sessions regarding legal and personnel issues in the district. She, Vice-Chair Lisa Durgin and Reznicek will also meet to review discussion of the conversations the board has had about whether to create a policy for how board members communicate with school staff or a deadline for when the board should ask for changes or additions to meeting agendas. Durgin or Reznicek will present remarks at the next board meeting and confirm everyone understands each other.