Aldermen discuss insurance policy options

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 2, 2016

Friday, the Poplarville Board of Aldermen held a workshop to discuss budgetary items for the beginning of the new fiscal year, which will take effect on October 1.
One of those items is medical insurance. The city’s current plan will expire on August 1 so the Board must make a decision about renewal before then, Poplarville City Clerk Jane O’Neal said.
The city’s current health plan, which is managed through Clayton E. Johnson Insurance Services, Inc. in Laurel, is with United Healthcare.
With 27 employees the city’s current bill is $14,439 per month, equating to a total of $534 per employee.
The city also pays for employee’s dental and life insurance benefits, which total about $27 and $8 per month respectively, O’Neal said.
The current healthcare plan requires a $1,000 deductible, 80/20 co-insurance, $3,000 out-of-pocket requirement, $25 physician co-pays, $100 drug deductible and a $10/$35/$60 drug co-pay.
If city leaders decide to renew their policy with United Healthcare, they will be looking at a 7.3 percent increase this year, bring their monthly bill to $15,492, Jennifer Stephenson with Clayton E. Johnson Insurance Services, Inc. told Board members.
Stephenson listed some contributing factors to this increase including, healthcare costs, trends, taxes and fees, which increase each year.
A positive aspect of renewing with United is that the company is familiar with the group’s claims, she said.
Since United Healthcare and Blue Cross Blue Shield are Mississippi’s largest medical providers, those insured with the companies have access to a broader medical provider network, Stephenson explained.
She presented three options, two from Blue Cross Blue Shield and one from Humana. The available options she presented from Blue Cross Blue Shield would run the city $14,407 or $13,827 per month. The Humana option totaled $14,022.
The $14,407 option from Blue Cross Blue Shield is the closest to the city’s current rate and would also feature a $1,000 deductible, $3,000 out-of-pocket requirements and $100 drug deductible.
“This option would keep you close to the current rate and enriches benefits for employees,” Stephenson said. “The co-pays and drug deductible would all be applied to the out-of-pocket costs.”
Becky Mansfield and Amy Evans, representative with Lockard and Williams Insurance Services P.A., also presented the board with some figures regarding insurance.
A basic life and accidental death and dismemberment $15,000 policy estimated monthly premium would be $142 per employee, Mansfield said. The dental plan they proposed would cost the city about $25 per employee and the vision plan proposed would cost the city about $6 per employee, Mansfield said.
The medical plan Mansfield and Evans presented was through Humana and they proposed four level funding options.
According to Humana’s website, a level funding “is an option for businesses whose employees don’t make a large number of health insurance claims.”
However, the figures presented Friday were only preliminary and may change depending on an employee’s answers to three health questions, which is a requirement of Humana level funding, Mansfield said. The figures from the four proposals were between $6,000 and $8,000 per month.
The final representative to speak was Gray Montgomery with AcuityGroup in Hattiesburg.
He presented the board with six options available through BlueCross BlueShield. The lowest option would cost the city $497 per employee and would have a $1,500 deductible and a total out-of-pocket cost of $4,500. The highest option would cost the city $536 per employee and has a deductible of $750 and total out-of-pocket requirement of $3,000. Each plan featured a four-tiered prescription plan with a $10, $25, $50 and $100 co-pay, Montgomery said.
“These rates are based on a tobacco free workplace,” he said.
He explained that employees would not be allowed to use tobacco products while on the clock.
He also presented a dental plan proposal with AlwaysCare, with a monthly premium of about $26 per employee. He presented life and accidental death policies proposals from Unum and Hartford. With Unum, the city could pay $0.838 per $10,000 per month per employee. With Hartford, the monthly premium per employee per month would be $0.324 per $1,000 for life insurance coverage and $0.037 per $1,000 for accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage.
The next budget workshop will be held on Friday, July 8 at 8 a.m. in the boardroom at City Hall. The Aldermen will be meeting with department heads to discuss their respective budgets, O’Neal said.

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