February 4, 2014
Montana School Boards Association (MTSBA), School Administrators of Montana (SAM), MEA-MFT, and the Montana Rural Education Association (MREA) are pleased to come together in support of the Montana Unified School Trust (MUST), whose sole mission is to provide health benefits to Montana’s public schools.
“For the first time, we are united in our support of a health benefits provider,” states Dave Puyear, Executive Director of MREA. “Historically, these organizations have been divided on this issue, and we’re delighted to again speak with one voice on an issue that is vitally important to schools.”
MUST, in its 27th year as a self-funded health benefits trust, has spent the last three years quietly working to strengthen its financial position, build strategies to better manage healthcare dollars, and forge partnerships to fulfill its vision of becoming the most trusted benefits provider in Montana.
“In my three years with MUST, we’ve focused on our values, particularly creativity and continuous improvement,” comments Eric Schindler, MUST CEO. “We’ve strengthened our foundation and implemented innovative programs to manage our risk while helping our members stay well.”
“The MUST value proposition is better than ever,” says Eric Feaver, MEA-MFT President. “Schools are different, and MUST has always understood that. Combine that understanding with the new things they’re doing, and you have a great choice for schools.”
MUST’s newest initiatives include:
• A new third-party administrator relationship with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT). This relationship brings to MUST the strength of the BCBSMT networks, both in- and out-of-state. Members have the peace of mind of knowing that their providers are available to them because of these networks. This relationship also means that MUST members get the advantage of the provider contracts that BCBSMT has negotiated. Better provider contracts mean lower out-of-pocket costs for members, as well as more manageable future premium increases.
• Access to the State of Montana employee health centers. These centers, built to provide healthcare services to State employees, are now available to MUST school districts within selected zip codes. Members can access primary care, laboratory, and wellness services.
• Continuum-of-Care model. MUST created unique programs that help members make the most of their benefits and better manage their health. These programs benefit everyone, from the healthiest members to those who need the most help.
• MUST Online Market. MUST members can utilize this portal to select the medical, dental, and vision plans that are best for them and their families. The Market will also simplify enrollment, billing, and other administrative processes for school districts.
“We’re so excited about the MUST Online Market,” adds Kirk Miller, Executive Director of SAM. “This technology not only simplifies some complicated processes but also allows MUST to provide more options than ever, even for the smallest schools.”
“It’s amazing what MUST has accomplished in the last three years,” says Lance Melton, Executive Director of MTSBA. “They’re in the strongest financial position in the history of the trust. They’re delivering incredible value for the healthcare dollar. And they’ve done it all with manageable premium increases. What else can you say? They’re doing great things for schools.”