Why You Should Trust Valley Schools

The Valley Schools difference is our decades of experience.

For more than 30 years, Valley Schools has been the Grand Canyon State’s foremost choice for people searching for a wide variety of services, including benefits consulting, wellness, and insurance options that are customized to meet your specific needs in specific areas, including health insurance, affordable health insurance, health care plans, and group health insurance. Valley Schools offers these services to school districts and other governmental agencies who want competitive pricing, predictable budgeting, vendor stability, and happier employees.

The Valley Schools story began in 1987, when it was established by schools pursuant to ARS 11-952 as a not-for-profit entity, to allow public entities to jointly purchase insurance and pool insurance risks. The Valley Schools Management Group (VSMG) is a not-for-profit entity which provides professional management of insurance pools. A public entity pool is not an insurance carrier or vendor; it is a not-for-profit, separate legal entity formed pursuant to A.R.S. 11-952.01. Valley Schools combines governmental employers into a larger group which increases their purchasing power, and also allows group plans and offerings that members cannot access on their own. The Valley Schools Management Group Board of Directors is made up of current and former public entity administrative and business professionals with years of real-world experience understanding the needs of the public sector.

The Valley Schools Management Group Board of Directors consists of current and former public entity administrative and business professionals with years of real-world experience understanding the needs of the public sector. Valley Schools is your best choice for quality benefits. We have a 14 -year track record of providing school districts and other governmental agencies the best possible pricing in employee benefits and insurance coverage, all to better support their financial freedom and well-being. Our hands-on experience in the public sector provides thoughtful and considerate consulting services. You can choose to use carriers through Valley Schools, or keep your current carriers.

What is Valley Schools? We were established by school districts in 1987, pursuant to ARS 11-952 as an Arizona nonprofit corporation to allow public entities to jointly purchase insurance and pool insurance risks. The Valley Schools Management Group (VSMG) is an Arizona nonprofit corporation which provides professional management of insurance pools. VSMG trusts and manages several pools, including the Valley Schools Worker’s Compensation Group (VSWCG), the Valley Schools Insurance Group (VSIG) which handles liability insurance, and the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Group (VSEBG) which provides health, dental, life, short-term disability, vision, and COBRA.

 

At Valley Schools, we provide valuable, useful information in blogs on health-related topics. Here are a few topics we have covered in recent blog posts.

Is wine good or bad for us? This is not a simple question with a simple one-size-fits-all answer. There have been numerous media reports on studies claiming there are benefits for moderate wine consumption. Because of this, many people readily admit they drink a glass of wine at night to help relax after a day at work. They point to the fact that red wine has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and contains beneficial polyphenols, which are chemicals that, at least theoretically, may protect against common health issues and certain effects of the aging process. They can act as antioxidants, protecting cells and body chemicals against damage caused by free radicals; these are reactive atoms that contribute to tissue damage in the body. Compared to other types of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, tequila, and whiskey, wine is generally considered to be a smarter choice. While there may be benefits to an occasional glass of wine, it’s not considered to be beneficial for everyone; for example, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who have difficulty sleeping, you might want to avoid consuming any type of alcohol, which prevents people from entering the REM stage, which is  when physiological restoration occurs. As a sedative, alcohol can induce sleep and cause us to fall asleep faster, but that can come at a cost, as the quality of sleep can be impaired. The brain needs sleep to flush out toxins that have built up during the day. Over time, not being able to recover the brain can lead to increased risk of disease. Alcohol breaks up sleep, causing you to wake several times during the night, whether you are aware of it or not. Drinking alcohol before sleep can also contribute to sleepwalking, sleep talking and impaired memory. If you’d like to measure the effects of alcohol on your body, here’s a good way to do just that: try cutting alcohol out of your diet for 30 days and monitor changes to your lifestyle, such as mood, energy levels, sleep, aches and pains and GI discomfort. At the end of those 30 days, re-introduce organic, high-quality wine back into your diet and pay attention to any changes you may experience. Thanks to modern-day processes, wine contains more than 70 additives, designed to increase production and reduce costs. That’s why it’s important to buy only organic, higher-quality wines and avoid the cheap stuff. If you find that nothing changes in your body after you begin drinking alcohol again, you may discover that alcohol is not an issue for you. Because each person responds differently, the best way to determine how a food or beverage affects your body might be to try a three-tiered process of strict removal, reset phase, and reintroduction. The Valley Schools Wellness Team is committed to keeping our members up-to-date on useful, evidence-based health and wellness information. You can reach our wellness team by sending an email to info@wellstyles.org.

Essentials of the open enrollment process. Note to employees of Arizona school districts: open enrollment is right around the corner! Right now, your employer is making final benefit vendor selections and rate decisions, laying the critical groundwork to roll out benefits to employees for the 2019-2020 plan year. This is the time of year when governments and districts designate a specific period for you to choose your benefits package for the next plan year. For many of us, this period coincides with the fiscal year – July 1 through June 30. Depending on the employer, the open enrollment period is available for elections, questions, and changes for two-to-four weeks. Meetings can be one-on-one time with benefits counselors, webinars, group presentations, and/or benefit fairs where employees can speak to the benefit vendors. More than one educational opportunity can be offered, and most employers will allow employees to bring spouses to meetings so they are hearing the same message and can ask questions. This two-to-four week open enrollment period is a crucial time and is your chance to get educated on benefits and ensure you are choosing the right coverage for you, your family and your budget. If you don’t take advantage of this open enrollment period, you won’t have a chance to elect or make changes until next year’s open enrollment, unless you experience a qualifying event, such as a change in marital status, dependent status, primary address or Medicare eligibility. Make sure you watch for announcements about enrollment meetings and deadlines from your employer.

Valley Schools WellStyles™ program. Our WellStyles™ program provides coaching to employees through step challenges, health news, preventive programs, and incentive rewards to encourage them to lead a healthier life. While results can differ by the district, small accomplishments can pay great dividends to your community. By encouraging employees to continuously keep up with doctor appointments and check-ups, claims can drop by several thousand because of early detection of health problems. Employees are less likely to take extensive absences and be out of the office due to routine checkups, leading to a longer and healthier life and improved workplace productivity. Employers using WellStyles™ have seen tangible changes in employees habits, including diet, exercise, and mental health. WellStyles™ is part of our insurance group purchasing and has led to proven results in reducing costs for employers across the state. When the company they work for is concerned about their health, employees are appreciative. WellStyles™ is an outstanding way for employers to show their employees they care about their health and well-being. To learn more about leveraging WellStyles™ to increase employee productivity, please contact us or visit the Valley Schools website.

If you need insurance administration, vendor contracting, and consulting services for your school district and other governmental agency, contact Valley Schools today. We’re not your typical consultant – we offer predictable budgeting, plan and vendor stability, and happier employees – all at the most competitive pricing possible. For more than 30 years Valley Schools has been a leader in insurance administration, vendor contracting, and consulting services and as a nonprofit corporation, Valley Schools’ Number One priority is advising and providing our members best-in-class service at the most competitive rates possible.

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