“This is a follow-up to the meeting from the other night,” said Matt Bidwell, the county’s insurance broker.
Since Monday night’s meeting of the Board of Commissioners, Bidwell has discussed the county’s options with Cigna, the county’s current provider, and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Blue Cross Blue Shield’s quote for the county is a 12.07 percent increase, as opposed to a 14.4 percent increase that prompted the county to switch to Humana in 2008. This lower rate reflects the county’s willingness to have its employees take online health assessments. The net cost to the county is $339,000.
Cigna’s proposed 20 percent rate increase would have cost the county $364,000. Cigna lowered the increase to 16.4 percent, which would cost the county $353,087.
Bidwell said changing the policy repeatedly is difficult for employees, who may need prescriptions or surgeries reauthorized. About 95 percent of the doctors in the area participate in Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Both Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield proposed a 9 percent increase in dental premiums.
Bidwell then took questions from the commissioners.
“Is there any reason the contract should be annual?” Board of Commissioners member Dave Phillips asked.
Bidwell said although a multiyear contract can be signed, prices are only guaranteed for six to 12 months. This would leave the county vulnerable to price increases.
Jill Griffith, Paige Sale and Ben Pitarelli made a presentation on behalf of Blue Cross Blue Shield. Griffith described how there is one caveat — Blue Cross Blue Shield is still negotiating its agreement with Tenet, the company that owns Spalding Regional Medical Center. She was certain an agreement will be reached.
Board of Commissioners member Eddie Freeman said he had Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance for his 34 years of service with the state. He never had any problems with the company.
Next, Ken Munkel and Natasha Sherman, who had spoken on behalf of Cigna Monday, gave a presentation on Cigna once more.
Bidwell said both companies made good presentations and had a good ability to secure discounts from hospitals, something especially important in a time of rising health-care costs.
The commissioners voted 3-2 to make Blue Cross Blue Shield the county’s medical and dental insurance provider, with Board of Commissioners Chairman Eddie Goss and Board of Commissioners Vice Chairwoman Gwen Flowers-Taylor dissenting.
Flowers-Taylor then moved to make employee wellness screening a condition of receiving insurance. Freeman seconded. The commissioners voted 4-1 to institute the condition, with Phillips dissenting.