ALBANY — A recent survey of member school districts by The New York State Association of School Business Officials (NYSASBO) found that for 2018-19, the average individual health care premium increase will be 5.5 percent.

These health insurance costs would have been higher if not for a majority of school districts participating in health insurance consortiums that pool their buying power to purchase health insurance which saves the districts and their taxpayer's money.

For example, districts that participate in the New York Health Insurance Plan (NYSHIP) are facing a 7.2 percent increase for next year. NYSHIP is the health insurance plan for state workers, which allow local governments to participate.

In 2016-17, the last year we have complete data, health care costs rose 5.9 percent, while inflation rose 1.8 percent and total school spending rose 3.1 percent. Total spending on health care in 2016-17 was $6.6 billion or 9.6 percent of overall school spending.

"In the Governor's State of State, we applauded proposal to ease regulations to allow for the creation of health care consortia by local governments, and are hopeful that the Governor will sign legislation that will allow small and mainly rural school districts with less than 100 employees to stay in their health insurance consortiums," stated Michael J. Borges, NYSASBO Executive Director.

"Approximately 114 school districts that have less than 100 employees are in danger of being kicked out of their health insurance consortiums and face double digit increases in their premiums if the legislation, which is due to pass this week, is not signed by the Governor," continued Mr. Borges.