Board of supervisors discuss health care options for employees

By Daniel Brunty
The Winston County Journal

The Winston County Board of Supervisors discussed concerns regarding
an increase in county employees’ health insurance rates during their
April 1 meeting.
Addressing the board in regards to this issue was Jack Gordman,
insurance supervisor for the county. Gordman first informed the
board that open enrollment with their current insurance provider,
Blue Cross, will begin on April 12.
Gordman went on to explain the previous issues the county had in
regards to dental and vision insurance were resolved, and there would
be no rate changes with either option. Also not seeing an increase in
rates would be supplemental insurance.
Gordman stated that the loss ratio (the ratio of total losses
incurred in claims plus adjustment expenses divided by the total
premiums earned) with Blue Cross was 150 percent. This means for
every dollar that the county pays Blue Cross, Blue Cross puts in 1.50
of their currency.
Gordman explained that the county has a few employees who are very
sick, which makes the claims very expensive. Also, the number of
claims have increased over time, and makes it a very costly procedure
for the county every month.
Also discussed by Gordman was the possibility of using another
carrier for the insurance. After talking and explaining some of the
claims the county has on record, those carriers declined to give
quotes due to the expense of those claims.
“I think we have to stay with Blue Cross,” said Gordman.
Gordman requested to have a meeting with a representative from Blue
Cross to speak to the board, possibly in an executive section
regarding rates for each illness. He then presented the board with
options regarding the standing of the insurance right now as well as
future costs if there are no changes.
District Two Supervisor Luke Parkes asked Gordman if the board made
no changes, then how much of an increase would the county see
regarding rates. Gordman stated that the premium would increase by
$181,584.
“We are fighting for the employees,” said Gordman. “But we are at a
point now that we got to make a change somehow, someway, or some
shape. We are going have to change benefits and may even have to pass
some of the cost on to the employees.”
Gordman then presented the board with some options to consider. The
first option he explained would be to stop the gap plan, which would
pass the cost on to the employee, it would save roughly $80,000. It
still would leave an increase of over $100,000 for the county to pay.
The next option would be to change the Blue Cross plan to a $5,000
deductible (currently $2,000). By changing the deductible, this would
create a$100 drug deductible, which must be met before drug co-pay
kicks in. The only exception would be the Tier 1 drugs, which are
usually generic prescriptions. This option would begin in May and end
in December. It would then restart in January 2014.
The supervisors begin to discuss and make suggestions to Gordman
regarding their options. District 3 Supervisor Mike Peterson wondered
why the county gave the option of insurance to employees over 65
years of age or older. Peterson explained his thoughts by saying that
people of that age could possibly get medcaid instead of insurance,
and would allow other younger employees to have an option.
The board decided to possibly discuss this option in further detail
in future meetings regarding the insurance.
In other news, the Board:
• Approved publication of notice for road hauling permits in the
Winston County Journal at a cost of $104.
• Approved permission to obtain two (2) quotes on a lease-purchase
agreement for a motor grader.
• Approved purchase of paint from Bennett’s Do It Center at a cost of
$540.90 for the Department of Human Services. Cost will be paid from
the DHS Building Repairs budget.
• Approved vacation days for Purchase Clerk Crystal Clark (April 18-19).
• Approved request for indirect costs reimbursement from Hancock Bank
for WCCRCF, $65,946, and transfer $46,596 to the General Fund from
Solid Waste.
The next meeting of the Winston County Board of Supervisors will take
place on May 6, 2013. See April 15 meeting reporting on page 2.