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County’s Health Insurance Rate Will Increase

By David Howell

WATER VALLEY – The county’s health insurance premium will increase 12 percent, an amount that was less than expected.     

    The quote comes as supervisors prepare to renew the county’s health insurance plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield next month. They had calculated a much higher increase, as much 20 to 50 percent, in September when budget work was completed for the 2010/11 fiscal year budget which started October 1.

    The increase comes after the medical claims paid by Blue Cross for the county’s employee pool has outpaced the premiums paid by the county and employees for the last two years. Yalobusha County currently pays 100 percent of the health insurance premium for 61 employees, while the employees pay extra for a spouse or family plan.

    Mississippi Group Marketing agent Alan Tanquay provided figures on past claims during the “first Monday” meeting held Dec. 6. Tanquay  explained that from Sept. 2008 until August 2009, the total premium paid by the county $437,000, and the claims were $459,000. During the past 12 months, ending August, 2010, the premium that was paid was $472,493 compared to $606,680 in medical claims that were paid by Blue Cross.

    “If you just look at medical trends, the cost of health care…, I feel that the rate adjustment that we got without making any changes is very, very good,” Tanquay advised. With the increase, the monthly cost per employee increases from $516.56 to $578.55.

    Tanquay also offered a second coverage option that would slightly increase the co-pay for lab work and reduce the pharmacy benefits.

    If supervisors had opted to use the scaled-down plan, the total premium will only increase five percent.

    Supervisors initially took the quotes under advisement, but voted during a recessed meeting held Tuesday to keep the existing coverage with the 12 percent increase.

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