Don’t change dental plan for retirees

I read with interest the story in today’s paper, Friday, March 15, 2019, about Wood County Schools and the dental insurance issue. Wood County Schools first offered the dental insurance plan in about 1983. It was made available to both professional and service employees. At the same time, WCS offered a $100 yearly raise, or in lieu of that, employees could have the dental insurance with no premium. Professional employees chose the dental insurance and service employees chose the $100 yearly raise.

At the time we understood there was a $100 LIFETIME deductible under the plan. As a professional employee, I voted for the dental insurance. We had no say in the details of the plan. It is what it is.

The benefit for the dental plan is mostly paid from the proceeds of the continuing Excess Levy, which has been passed since 1945 and is used for other non-classroom items. Active professional employees still have the plan with no premium. Service employees are able to join the plan for a $13.06 monthly premium according to the Parkersburg News today. The story did not say if it was for single or family coverage. As a retired professional, I pay $45 per month for a family plan, which is just my wife and me. If I had children and they still lived at home, it would be the same price. Single professional retirees pay $20 per month.

The plan has a $1,300 total benefit package per year. At $45 per month, I pay $540 for $1,300 worth of benefits. It appears that the board is considering fixing the dental insurance problem by balancing it on the backs of the retirees. It is not the retirees who are receiving a much deserved 5 percent pay raise two years in a row.

As people become older, the chances increase of using dental benefits. It will happen to the younger employees some day. We do like having teeth and assume they do also.

The board needs to continue to pay the funds, or ask the active employees to pay something. I implore the board to not throw the retirees under the bus to fix this problem. We are dying as fast as we can.

Robert Sadler