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BOLIVIA—County employees won’t see monthly insurance premiums taken out of their paychecks but will feel the increased costs in their wallets.
After weeks of pleas by county employees not to change their insurance coverage, county manager Marty Lawing presented commissioners with two insurance plans—with commissioners opting for the plan that changes employee coverage from 100 percent to a 90-10 percent cost-sharing plan.
Option A, which was approved by commissioners Monday night, continues with a PPO and an HMO option for employees, with an increase in co-pays, but holds premiums the same for the county and dependent portions.
Option B would include the same PPO plan as option A, but employees could “buy up” to the HMO plan for $92 per month to cover the increase.
“If an employee decided to buy up to the HMO plan, the dependents would have to buy up and pay the 14.5 percent increase,” Lawing explained.
Lawing said county administration and human resources departments received “quite a bit of feedback,” with Option A slightly beating out Option B.
“There is no consensus,” among employees, he said.
“There is a slight edge for Option A, but it’s not a situation where everyone voted.”
Commissioners chairman Bill Sue said even with approved changes to the insurance plan, “we’ve still got one of the best county insurance rates.”
“No one likes to have a reduction of benefits—including me, including the staff that’s worked on this,” Lawing reiterated.
“When you’re required to look at the big pictureeewe’ve analyzed this every way possible, and we feel it’s prudent to analyze this the same way,” he said.
Commissioner Marty Cooke said commissioners have been talking to county employees since the insurance premium increase first made waves at the county commissioners’ May 19 meeting.
“I’m a new commissioner, and so I’ve had an opportunity to talk to a lot of people out there. The tough thing about being up here is that we have to look at the citizenry as a whole, and so we have to make tough decisions,” he said.
“I bet everyone up here would like to abstain or go home. Sometimes we have to make decisions that we don’t want to make, but we have to do what’s right for everyone.”
Commissioner May Moore said insurance rates were “shopped around” and approached in “several dozen different ways.”
“I think at this point, I think that we should go with Option A; partly because it’s what more people said they favored and partly because I think there will be families that will have to drop their coverage if their premiums are going up,” Moore said.
“I’ve looked at this from every angle,” Sue added. “Option A gives the employee the best buy for the buck. Once you pay 1,000 bucks, the rest of it’s paid for.”
Commissioners unanimously approved Option A, with commissioner Phil Norris absent.
Changes to the PPO plan approved by commissioners include an increase in the specialist co-pay to $40 from $30; an increase in the in-network deductible to $500 from $250; and establishing a $1,000 in network out-of-pocket.
In-network co-insurance and outpatient laboratory services would be reduced from 100 percent to 90 percent. Retail prescription co-pay will change to $0-45-60 from $10-25-40. Mail-order prescription co-pay (90-day supply) will change to $20-90-120 from $25-49-87.
Approved changes to the HMO plan include an increase in the PCP co-pay to $20 from $10, establishing an in-network deductible of $250, and an in-network out-of-pocket of $1,000.
In-network and outpatient laboratory services co-insurance is reduced from 100 percent to 90 percent.The same changes for prescription co-payment for the PPO plan apply and the vision exam deductible increases to $20 from $10.
No changes were made to the dental plan.
Insurance information source: Brunswick County Administration