Having cleared the wreckage off the tracks, the trains are back running as the Arlington school system works to get its employees enrolled in a new health-care program.
Teachers, staff and younger retirees are getting their paperwork in to make the switch from Kaiser Permanente to CareFirst.
“We are roughly at about 50 percent” of the school system’s personnel currently enrolled in health care who have signed up for new coverage, Superintendent Francisco Durán told School Board members at the Oct. 26 School Board meeting.
(It was rough math, indeed: Out of about 3,800 currently enrolled, an estimated 1,535 had signed up for next year, or 40%, but the figure would soon hit 50% as sign-ups continued.)
Kaiser Permanente, the school system’s longtime health-care provider, opted over the summer not to bid on the contract for 2024. School leaders then compounded the issue by keeping that information to themselves over the summer, leading to a deluge of angry educators and staff once the situation did become publicly known.
Open enrollment continues through Nov. 10. “This is an opt-in opportunity – individuals need to choose the [CareFirst] plan of their choice,” Durán said at the Oct. 26 meeting.
Those who do not select a plan by Nov. 10 will find themselves without an Arlington Public Schools health plan at the start of next year, unless they qualify for later enrollment owing to a life-changing event.
Not affected by the switch in providers will be school-system retirees over age 65, who will be able to continue their enrollment in Medicare-supplement plans offered through UnitedHealth and Kaiser Permanente for the next two years.