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Oakland Unified School District

Health Benefits Governance Board HBGB

Supporting the Needs of OUSD Employees

The Health Benefits Governance Board (HBGB) was originally known for three decades as the Health Benefits Improvement Committee (HBIC), a joint committee of all OUSD Labor Organizations and OUSD Administration, which worked to bring the highest standard of health and welfare benefits to district employees while exploring ways to reduce the cost of those benefits.

What began as an exploratory and advisory role, evolved in 2002 to a commitment by the United Labor Caucus of the HBIC to do coordinated bargaining with the goal that “Health and welfare benefits are uniform for all district employees regardless of position…Uniform benefits will be based on the best plan provided to any employee.” Modifications to any union’s benefit package was first discussed and agreed upon by the United Labor Caucus and held to the stated goal.

In 2008, the unions in the United Labor Caucus agreed to bargain health and welfare benefits as a collective entity with the district at the HBIC table. The Caucus resolved that “We are convinced that by uniting all bargaining units, we maximize our ability to obtain the best and most equitable health benefits for all district employees [and that] all labor contracts reflect our commitment to this process.”

In 2012 the process became even more formalized and all parties agreed that bargaining between the district and unions on health and welfare benefits is the exclusive role of the HBIC. The parties agreed that “The HBIC has formed to study benefits and to identify options and means for reducing health care costs while assuring the delivery of quality health and welfare benefits to covered employees.” Negotiated agreements were still subject to member ratification.

These evolving agreements by the Health Benefits Improvement Committee have resulted in the relative stability of benefits and costs to members over the last eight years.

It was the decision, in 2014, by the HBIC, to explore becoming, not a negotiations body, but a joint body with decision-making authority to manage the quality of benefits and the health care budget of OUSD in order to control costs.  Over the course of the 2014-2015 school year, negotiations between OUSD labor and District resulted in an agreement that established your Health Benefits Governing Board (HBGB). The members of all OUSD unions ratified this agreement in the spring of 2015. Health and welfare benefits changes are no longer subject to ratification, but will be decided by your HBGB.

In 2015-16 HBGB negotiated a change from 1 (30-day) copay for a 3-month supply, to 2 (30-day) copays, effectively doubling the copay for 3-month (up to 100 days) supply drugs. In addition to the actuarial value of that benefit change, we received a rate concession from Kaiser for making that change, which in combination, reduced the premium rate approximately 2.5%.

Your HBGB followed other districts that have established governance boards to manage district health care budget and benefits: Los Angeles, Fresno, and San Jose. And we continue to learn from them as we move forward on our journey.