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County Officials Mull Insurance Options

By David Howell
Editor

WATER VALLEY – Taxpayers could see as much as a 65 percent increase in the health insurance cost for the county employee’s  after $531,432 in claims have been paid by Blue Cross/Blue Shield during the last year.

    The increase, which will become effective January 1, comes on top of the $322,764 premium paid in the last 12 months.

    “It is a 164 percent loss ratio,” Mississippi Group Marketing agent Alan Tanquay explained to  supervisors during the “first Monday” meeting held in Water Valley.

    The hefty increase has been a familiar topic around the board table, most recently surfacing in a recessed meeting held on Nov. 20 when supervisors initially decided to stay with their current provider.

    A second company that provides gap insurance for the county’s health insurance policy will also have a 30 percent increase, Tanquay also said Monday. The gap insurance provider, Morgan White, pays $4,500 of the $5,000 deductible on the Blue Cross/Blue Shield of the policy, leaving the employee with a $500 deductible.

    Tanquay did offer several options to save money, including increasing the annual deductible to $1,000, a move that would reduce the overall cost by almost seven percent.

    A second company, United Healthcare, provided a comparable quote, according to Tanquay. Humana declined to quote on the group, Tanquay told supervisors.

    No action was taken at Monday’s meeting, and a December 14 recessed meeting date was set to make a final decision to meet a middle-of-the-month deadline in order for a the new policy to become effective by January 1.

    Other business conducted at the meeting included:

    Supervisors approved an increase for feeding prisoners from $4.25 per prisoner per day to $6 per prisoner per day charged by Yalobusha General Hospital.

    “They have been doing it for the past two years at $4.25,” Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn said Monday.

    McMinn said the increase comes after Hospital Administrator Terry Varner said a study showed that the food cost alone is $6, not counting the labor or costs associated with transporting the food from the hospital to the jail.

    “I can understand the increase, myself,” District Three Supervisor M.H. “Butch” Surrette.

    “I can too,” District One Supervisor Tommy Vaughn agreed.

    The new contract with the hospital was approved with a 4- 0 vote. District Two Supervisor Amos Sims was out-of-town on a business trip, and unable to attend the meeting.

    • Approved an application to exceed to the posted weight limits on County Road 90 and 91 in District One from Max White Logging. An application was also approved for Hubert Files on County Road 224 in District 3.

    • Approved a request by Yalobusha Coroner Ronnie Stark to allow Deputy Coroner Debie Jackson to attend the Mississippi Coroner Association’s 2009 Winter Conference. A continuing education trip to Jackson to view autopsies was also approved by the board. Stark and Jackson will make the trip.

    • Approved the 2009 mobile home roll and homestead disallowances.

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