Pontiac Education Association urges school district to pay its health insurance provider

PONTIAC, Mich., June 25, 2013 — With a critical deadline fast approaching, the president of the Pontiac Education Association is calling on the school district to pay what it owes to its health insurance provider, so that school employees and their families can continue receiving health care.

The Michigan Education Special Services Association, the health insurance provider for Pontiac school employees, recently announced it will terminate coverage effective July 31. The Pontiac School District hasn’t made a full premium payment in many months, and owes more than $11 million in premiums. MESSA has filed suit against the district to collect a portion of the owed premiums.

Pontiac Education Association President Aimee McKeever said she “completely understands” MESSA’s decision to terminate coverage for the 350-plus school employees.

“MESSA has shown a great deal of patience with the Pontiac School Board,” McKeever said. “However, MESSA is a business. How many businesses would continue to provide goods and services if they haven’t been paid?”

“It is hardly a concession for the employer to commit to making premium payments on health care plans — it is not only a contraction obligation, but also a moral obligation,” McKeever said. “Some Pontiac school employees have children with life-threatening illnesses, and they depend on their health care benefits to provide medication and treatment. It’s unconscionable for the Pontiac School Board to renege on their commitment to pay premiums to the health care provider.”

“It is especially outrageous that they have not been making the premium payments, since over 20 percent of those premium dollars come directly out of Pontiac school employees’ paychecks,” McKeever said. “The district took that portion out, but failed to consistently forward the employees’ premium contributions to MESSA. Where did that money go?”

 

Contact: Aimee McKeever, Pontiac Education Association president, 248-245-3508