Members of the South Dakota legislature’s Government Operation & Audit Committee (GOAC) reviewed the Associated School Board’s Protective Trust health fund – South Dakota School District Benefits Fund – on Monday (6/29).
“I want people to know, in addition to our schools, where our health fund (status) is,” Pogany said.
Pogany outlined the review of the health fund the Protective Trust conducted in meeting with various advisors, including school administrators, Impact Consulting, which also advised the state of South Dakota on its health fund, and Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Pogany noted the decision was made for the health fund to change its third party provider to Wellmark, which potentially could save the fund up to an estimated $7 million in claims.
“Wellmark has been very good to work with,” Pogany said. “This (transition) is the most cost effective way to (reduce debt).”
In addition, Pogany told committee members the health fund reduced the number of fund plans from more than 260 to eight, with the lowest deductible plan starting at $500.
“I think the school districts understand the changes we’ve had to make, but it’s been a growing pain,” Pogany said.
Along with the mechanics of the health fund transition, which is being overseen by Pogany and PT Director Matt Flett, has been the implementation of a statewide members meeting – held in April of this year – and reintroduction of advisory committees – composed of administrators from member districts across the state – to help increase the transparency of the fund.
“We wanted this to be as smooth as possible for the schools,” Pogany said. “Ultimately, our goal (is) to provide quality service.”
GOAC Chair Rep. Dan Dryden said the fund appeared to be on the right track.
“I think you have at least a good start on it,” Rep. Dryden said.
Pogany invited the opportunity to discuss the fund after the transition has been in place.
“We would be happy to report to you (GOAC) down the road where we are,” Pogany said. “We want this to be transparent.”
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