Washington State Takes Over School Employee Health Benefits, Could This Work in California?

The State of Washington has agreed to take on school employee health benefits starting in the year 2020.  Effective January 2020, the state of Washington has agreed to provide health insurance benefits for the nearly 300,000 individuals who are currently covered under individual school districts. The state still needs to come up with funding to take over the school employee benefits and is looking at about a $900 million dollar price tag to do so.  

The School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program will cover all the employees with the states school districts and is a separate entity altogether than the Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB). The biggest win here is for school districts who typically require time and resources to negotiate individually for health care providers. This new plan will eliminate the district negotiating process and the state will now negotiate on behalf of all employees.  

This is all a part of EHB 2242 (fully funding the state’s program of basic education by providing equitable education opportunities through reform of state and local education contributions). This is an effort to improve not only the equity of healthcare for all school employees but to save money that was already allotted to the districts for the plans. The new formula will also (in most cases) save the employees money. Overall, in theory, sounds like a sane fiscal practice.

Could something like this work in California? Possibly. It’s worth learning about to keep tabs on how this policy works out for educators in Washington’s public school system. One negative factor is that the Washington Teacher’s Union doesn’t like this plan (surprise, surprise). Still, this plan is worth considering.

Here are additional facts to review on the SEBB.

What do you think?

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