Wisconsin media lacks the courage to confront WEA Trust insurance scam

Only one Milwaukee columnist had the guts to tell readers about the findings of a critical report and millions of wasted tax dollars

     Congratulations to Patrick McIlheran of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal for being the only journalist we can find in Wisconsin whos brave enough to confront the WEA Trust school insurance scam. 

     We recently issued a report titled, A Crucial Challenge for Wisconsin Schools: Escaping the Shackles of WEA Trust Insurance. After hours of investigation and research, we were able to demonstrate that WEA Trust is the most expensive form of school employee insurance in the state, and schools could save hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of dollars, by switching to different insurance carriers.
 
    We also pointed out that WEA Trust has a grossly unfair advantage in the Wisconsin school insurance market, allowing the company to charge inflated prices without losing a great deal of business. The problem is that state law makes the identify of the school insurance carrier a topic of collective bargaining. That allows local teachers unions to come to the table demanding WEA Trust coverage, because their state union, the Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC), created and is closely associated with WEA Trust.
 
    We polled administrators from 20 school districts that managed to break away from WEA Trust coverage in recent years. All of them saved, or expected to save, at least $100,000 per year while still offering quality health coverage to employees. McIlheran wrote about one of those districts, Milton, which expects to save $1 million per year.
 
    With so many school districts laying off teachers and canceling student programs, those types of savings can be critical.
 
    But as our report noted, many school administrators say theyre afraid to begin the process of breaking away from WEA Trust. Thats because they would have to seek bids from other insurance companies, and to do that they must provide bidders with recent insurance claim history from their districts. While WEA Trust is legally bound to provide that information to school districts, the company is also known to punish districts that request it by kicking them out of  regional insurance pools. Schools outside those pools typically pay higher premium rates.
 
    That leaves many school districts with several bad options. They can keep paying the high premiums charged by WEA Trust, or risk angering WEA Trust by shopping for less expensive coverage. If they cant find alternative coverage for one reason or another, they may be forced to pay even higher WEA Trust non-pool premiums.
 
    Our report also noted that the Wisconsin Association of School Boards is asking local school boards to endorse a proclamation, demanding that the state change the law so the identify of the insurance carrier is no longer a topic of collective bargaining. That would allow school boards to freely shop for the best insurance deal for their employees and their budgets.
 
    Unfortunately our report was widely ignored by the mainstream media in Wisconsin. Only McIlheran had the courage to mention our findings, and write about the millions of tax dollars so many schools are forced to waste on WEA Trust coverage. He is a true journalist who is serving the interest of Wisconsin taxpayers. We challenge the rest of the media establishment in Wisconsin to start thinking out of the box and find the courage to question powerful interests like WEAC and WEA Trust.
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