Shopping for insurance could be key

Published 12:52 am Sunday, September 22, 2013

When looking to make a big purchase, a smart consumer never jumps at the first offer or goes with a company just because they have done so in the past.

Adopting that same philosophy, it makes perfect sense that the county shops around every year when it comes to its health insurance. Commissioner Les Boggs is on target to push that approach in this area and, ultimately, in any purchase the county makes.

Health insurance premiums have — and will continue to be — a huge expense for government entities such as the county, as well as private-sector employers.

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With the county facing a premium increase that could top $1 million, the commission owes it to the taxpayers to look at every avenue to save money. Seeking quotes from additional providers is just smart business.

Long-term, there may be opportunities to save money by developing partnerships that leverage additional buying power, for lack of a better phrase, in order to receive the best rates.

Could the city and county governments form a cooperative to negotiate a better rate? Could other government entities join in? What if private employers joined this as a way of providing the best possible insurance at the lowest cost?

No one knows exactly what effect the Affordable Care Act will have on health insurance premiums in coming years, but it is a relatively safe bet to say they will not be getting cheaper anytime soon.

Working together as one community will be important on this and virtually everything else in a still-struggling economy.