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United Health to provide county’s insurance

2012 budget expected by early December

United Health Care will provide the county’s health insurance plan after it offered a rate 17 percent lower than that of the county’s current carrier, CIGNA.

United Health had been the county’s carrier in 2009 when the medical loss ratio for employees was at 52 percent.

That meant that for every dollar paid to a carrier 52 cents went to an actual claim, according to Jeremy Eastwood, insurance consultant out of Ona, W.Va., Eastwood reported to the commissioners at their regular Thursday meeting about potential carriers for 2012.

“That is extremely good,” he said.

The next year that ratio went up to between 72 and 76 percent, which was still in a good range but not satisfactory for United. That prompted the switch to CIGNA, which offered a premium rate that was 8 percent below the then current one.

However this year the county’s medical ratio went up to 101.5 percent, which exceeds the 85 to 87 percent norm most carriers prefer.

“It was a necessity for the county to get an increase,” Eastwood said.

That is when CIGNA proposed a premium increase of 29 percent. Eastwood approached Aetna and Humana, but both declined to give a quote. The association in charge of Blue Cross/Blue Shield also declined.

That left United Health Care, that originally proposed a 12 percent premium increase, and Medical Mutual of Ohio. Medical Mutual was not able to get a proposal to the county within the time frame the county requested, leaving United Health as the carrier with the lowest premium.

“If we make a decision this week, then they will decrease it to a 9.5 percent increase on the current premium,” Eastwood said.

Commissioners approved United Health, which will require employees with a $500 deductible to pay 17.5 percent of their premium and those with $1,000 deductible to pay 11.5 percent of the premium.

“I feel United Health Care did give us good service,” Les Boggs, County Commission President said.

Now with the insurance carrier selected, the county can go forward in finalizing a budget for 2012.

“We will be working feverishly and expect to have a budget in the first week of December,” Boggs said.

In other action the commission:

• Accepted the bid from Perfection Group Inc. for $16,992 for HVAC services at the Department of Job and Family Services. Other bidders were Alpha Mechanical at $24,348 and Honeywell at $29,804;

• Approved a demolition agreement for property at 1836 Woodland Drive;

• Approved a right of way permit for the Lawrence Economic Development Corp on Township Road 268 for installation of driveway entrance;

• Accepted the weekly dog warden report where 28 dogs were destroyed; seven were sold and three were redeemed by their owner.