Madison County commissioners agreed to take the best option out of a bad bunch June 2.
The group picked a county insurance plan that will provide less coverage and prove more expensive in 2014-15. The new plan will include a 14-percent cost increase to the county government, from $886,000 this past year to just over $1 million next year. The county covers all premium payments for individual government employees who qualify for benefits. But employees wanting coverage for family members must pay out of pocket.
Insurance agent Matt Bidwell told board members at their May 22 meeting that health care claims from four employees this past year totaled about $700,000.
Bidwell said that because of those claims, and increased coverage and taxes related to the federal health reform, the county would face a 35-percent cost increase if it chose to keep the same plan for next year. So, he proposed four cheaper options. And on Monday, he presented a fifth plan, which was intended to lesson the burden on employees covering their family members. Those rates were set to jump quite a bit over the next year. Bidwell’s new proposal gives those employees the option of paying a higher out-of-pocket deductible on prescription drugs in exchange for slightly lower premiums. Bidwell said the family plan for employees over the past year was $334 per pay period. He said without the prescription drug option, the premium would rise to $440 per pay period. The latest option cut that to $387 per pay period.
Bidwell said roughly eight-percent of the increase is associated with embedded costs from the Affordable Health Care Act, which sets requirements on certain coverages, such as preventive care. He noted that four-percent of that cost is in taxes.