Higher deductible possible for employeesPublished 11:20am Thursday, August 22, 2013
Health account would cover extra cost
Increasing the health insurance deductible could save the county on its premium without costing employees anymore than what they put out now for coverage.
That’s an option the county is researching in an attempt not to have to spend an extra $1 million for coverage in 2014. That could happen because of the high number of claims from employees this year. So far there have been 573 claims with 11 of those costing more than $1 million.
“I have asked (county insurance consultants) to come up with a couple of different options to help manage our insurance costs,” Commission President Bill Pratt said.
Both would include the county starting a health reinvestment account and would be for deductibles of $2,500 and $3,500.
“(The account) allows you to have a higher deductible but the county ends up paying a part of that deductible,” he said. “That will allow us to keep the employees’ part the same in return for higher deductible to reduce your premium.”
Right now county employees have the option of choosing a plan with a $1,000 or $1,500 deductible. The deductible choice had been $500 or $1,000, but a change was made in 2012 to keep the premium within the county’s budget constraints.
“When we looked at claims so far this year, 63 percent of the claims had been less than $2,500,” Pratt said. “If you had a $2,500 deductible, you didn’t even use up to that. We are paying for insurance that has never been used. The full amount of the deductible wouldn’t be used.”
Currently the county pays almost $4 million in premiums for non-union employees.
“One company that did this was Buckeye Rural and they saved literally tens of thousands of dollars and the employees weren’t out anything,” Pratt said.
The county is also considering raising the $75 co pays to $150 to reduce non-emergency visits to the emergency room.
“This would curb people from going to the ER for a family practitioner,” Pratt said.
The county also plans to bid out its insurance to see where is the best premium.
“We need those back by the middle of September,” he said. “We would like to have three quotes to see if we are getting a good rate.”