Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Vt. Teachers Union Sues Williston-Based Benefits Administrator, Alleges Fraud

A stethoscope on a table with a clipboard of paperwork in the background.
Vermont's teachers union has filed a lawsuit against Future Planning Associates, a Williston-based health benefits administrator.

The Vermont-NEA has filed a lawsuit against Future Planning Associates, a Williston-based health benefits administrator. Future Planning Associates took on more than 20,000 school employees' health reimbursement accounts in January, then terminated the contracts in April.

The lawsuit alleges Future Planning Associates breached their contract, failed to operate in good faith and committed consumer fraud when it advertised its services and attempted to administer health benefits for 80 percent of Vermont's school employees. Future Planning Associates has said it did nothing wrong.

But Burlington music teacher and union member Betsy Nolan said the company's actions meant many teachers' medical bills went unpaid, with some bills going to collection agencies. Some professionals, Nolan said, were denied medical service because of unpaid bills. 

"It was obvious from very early on that they did not have the infrastructure to meet the needs of the state's school districts," said Nolan. "I cannot overstate the amount of chaos that this has caused in teachers' health care. I'm a single person personally who doesn't have any dependents, and I have literally been on the phone for over 18 hours this year trying to undo the mess that was created by Future Planning." 

The Burlington Education Association is the first plaintiff, although the statewide union expects more districts to join. It seeks punitive damages and attorneys fees.

Emily Corwin reported investigative stories for VPR until August 2020. In 2019, Emily was part of a two-newsroom team which revealed that patterns of inadequate care at Vermont's eldercare facilities had led to indignities, injuries, and deaths. The consequent series, "Worse for Care," won a national Edward R. Murrow award for investigative reporting, and placed second for a 2019 IRE Award. Her work editing VPR's podcast JOLTED, about an averted school shooting, and reporting NHPR's podcast Supervision, about one man's transition home from prison, made her a finalist for a Livingston Award in 2019 and 2020. Emily was also a regular reporter and producer on Brave Little State, helping the podcast earn a National Edward R. Murrow Award for its work in 2020. When she's not working, she enjoys cross country skiing and biking.
Latest Stories