Screenings could help lower county’s insurance costs

Published 9:17 am Friday, July 27, 2012



Participating in a series of upcoming health screenings could help cut the county’s insurance premium come fall renewal time.

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On Aug. 14 United Health Care will hold a series of screenings at three locations in the county for those who subscribe to United Health’s insurance policies. If 75 percent of the county’s 282 employees who are covered by that insurance participate, the company will credit the county with four points. If through other health assessments and coaching, the county can gain 25 points, its premium will be cut by 5 percent.

“Right now we expect our premium to increase 13 and a half percent,” County Commissioner Bill Pratt said. “We generate points through their survey of our health care plan. If we do certain things, it puts us in one of four different tiers.”

Tier One offers a 5 percent reduction on the county’s premium and is the goal of the county since it has only been with the company for one year.

Historically such reductions are also passed on to the employees. Right now employees who have a $1,000 deductible pay 11 percent of their premium. Those with a $500 deductible pay 17.5 percent of the premium cost.

“This is one of the things we can focus on and accomplish right now,” Pratt said.

Also anyone who participates in the screening and then takes a health assessment online within 90 days will receive a $75 gift card from United Health. After participating in those two assessments, any employee who agrees to be coached on a health issue online will receive an additional $25 gift card and if the employee is coached via telephone, there will be another $75 gift card. Participation in these assessments will add to the county’s points.

“We are trying to follow the guidelines to help decrease the premium for the county and the employees,” Pratt said.

The screenings will be Aug. 14 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Department of Job and Family Services; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the county courthouse; and 1 to 3 p.m. at Lawrence County Municipal Court in Chesapeake.

There will be a few spots for walk-ins, but participants are asked to pre-register on