MI Teachers' union first in nation to pick up health insurance

May 5, 2011

The Dearborn Federation of Teachers will be the first teachers' union in the nation to take over health insurance plans from a school district.

The union will provide two plans, an HMO, and a PPO, to its members.  Both are Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan plans.

Chris Sipperley is president of the union. 

She says Dearborn Public Schools demanded that teachers go from paying $0 a month to insure their families, to $625.

That’s when the union decided it could do better.

The union got its own bids for insurance.  Now, the most that teachers will pay is $218 a month.  That's for family coverage for the PPO.  The HMO will charge no monthly premium.

Sipperley says she expects other teachers unions may follow her union's example, with more cuts to state education funding expected in this year's  budget.

"We were able to use collective bargaining with the district during extremely difficult economic times, we still came out with something that helped the district save money, and still gave our members what they needed and what they needed and helped them feel secure.  So it’s a win-win."

The school district will pay into a union trust fund to help the union pay for the insurance, at a rate of $997 per full-time teacher in the first year of the contract.