Clovis Unified awarded ‘Best of the Best’ for health benefits

Alan Thaxter of Gallagher Benefit Services (far left) and Clovis Unified legislative analyst Steve Ward (far right) present a certificate of excellence to CUSD Employee Benefits Committee members to recognize the district for its health benefits program. (Valerie Shelton/Clovis Roundup)

Clovis Unified School District was recently recognized by Gallagher Benefit Services, which provides the district’s health benefit plan, for its excellence in mitigating rising health care costs and human resources.

Out of 4,000 employers of its size nationwide, the district was one of 28 analyzed by a Gallagher intensive survey to receive the high “Best of the Best” recognition, and one of only two employers on the West Coast to win the honor.

Alan Thaxter, a benefits consultant with Gallagher, presented the award before the board at its Jan. 17 meeting and explained how difficult it is to achieve the honor.

“Every year, Gallagher does a survey of employers and we take a look specifically at their employee benefits programs,” Thaxter explained. “The survey has grown exponentially over the last four or five years and it is now the largest survey of its type in the world. It seeks to take a look at emerging trends and seeks to find out what top performers are doing and how they are wrestling with the overall health care costs. Over 4,000 employers and organizations respond to that, either filling it out in complete or a vast portion of it. It’s a very complex form to fill out. It dives very deep.

“Once we get that information, Gallagher looks at it and we segment it into two different directions. One is just health care costs and what are we doing to manage health care costs and how are the health care costs of an organization comparing year over year, not just last year to this year but over a series of time. We look at what the organizations are doing to mitigate costs moving forward. Second, in addition to just health care costs, they take a look at human resources, how an organization interacts with its employees, how they engage their employees and what is the overall satisfaction of employees, turnover rates and things like that. Once we do that, we take the information for those two different categories and then we rank them.”

Once ranked, employers in the Top 25 percentiles in each of the two categories are considered “Best in Class.” Those employers fortunate enough to be in the “Best of Class” for both categories, health care cost containment and human resources administration, are considered “Best of the Best.”

“Clovis Unified qualified as best in class for health care cost containment, Clovis Unified also qualified as best in class for human resources and is one of only two on the West Coast, the other one being up in Seattle,” Thaxter said. “We’re pleased and I’m very honored to name the Clovis Unified School District as one of the ‘Best of the Best’ for the 2017.”

Steve Ward, the district’s legislative analyst, credited the Employee Benefits Committee, composed of 120 employees, with earning the district the prestigious award.

“[The committee] has made decisions over the past couple of years which have actually lowered our cost by nearly $6 million, while nationally the cost of health benefits is going up by 5 percent every year,” Ward said. “So, when you take a look at a plan that is reducing costs by $6 million, that is a pretty amazing accomplishment.”