New insurance option saves county money

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 8, 2003

For the first time ever this year, Lawrence County employees covered under the county's health insurance were offered the choice of either accepting the county's cafeteria plan, or opting out of what the county had to offer and collecting $750 at the end of the year.

Forty seven employees said they wanted the cash and Thursday, the commission agreed to send them their money.

"This has saved us a fortune," Commission President George Patterson said.

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The lump sum payment to 47 eligible employees amounted to $35,250. Commissioner Jason Stephens said that amount is substantially less than what the county would have paid for health insurance for those workers.

"Even if they had taken the single (coverage health insurance) plan, it would have cost the county about $200,000," Stephens said. "This has enabled us to keep the county's health care costs down, helped our bottom line and helped the county stay above water."

In January the county began contributing a fixed amount monthly toward each employee's health insurance premiums. The county contributes annually $4,169.88 for each employee who chooses single plan coverage, $14,173.20 annually for each employee who chooses family plan coverage.