Kudos to the Yarmouth School Department for reaping major savings from a little-known law sponsored in 2011 by the LePage administration (LD 1326). The Forecaster recently reported that Yarmouth “hopes to save about $40,000 this year in health insurance costs.” Future savings could be much greater.
Why the difference? Previously, teachers union administrators held a virtual monopoly on arranging health insurance purchases, and took a nice little fee for their troubles. The new law allows school districts to seek competitive bids on the basis of the district’s own claims history data. The Maine Education Association fought this tooth and nail, but lost in federal court. Now they are back in the Legislature with a clever new bill (LD 300) to dismantle the core pro-competition feature of LD 1326 (access to claims history data).
It is amazing what a little free market competition can do for insurance costs. As a small business owner and taxpayer in Yarmouth, I implore our representatives not to undo school districts’ ability to seek competitive bidding. Yarmouth’s recent savings illustrate the wisdom of removing MEA control over these important purchasing decisions.
Joanne T. Fryer