By David Howell
COFFEEVILLE – The cost of providing health insurance for the county’s 64 employees is expected to increase almost six percent if supervisors elect to keep the same policies in the coming year. The anticipated increase will push the monthly cost from $32,209 in 2014 to $34,131 in 2015 for a total annual cost of $409,572. The county pays 100 percent of each employee’s healthcare insurance premium.
Insurance consultant Leslie Smith delivered the renewals at a recessed supervisors meeting held Nov. 10 in Coffeeville. Smith explained the rate increase was not connected to the healthcare law, but instead was triggered by the loss ratio based on the claims paid in 2014.
Smith explained that the county’s work pool, like many other counties, is aging, because of little turnover. He also told supervisors that Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s five percent increase is the worse-case scenario and could be lowered after pending October claims are reviewed.
“The top five claimants accounted for 80 percent of the claims,” Smith continued.
In addition to Blue Cross, the county utilizes a gap insurance plan as a supplemental policy. Part of the anticipated increase is also attributed to an increase in this policy, Medi-Hop, which experienced 130 percent loss ration in 2014, according to the consultant.
Medi-Hop also lowered the total out-of-pocket amount it will pay for out-patient services in the coming year as part of the renewal. Supervisors tabled the renewals and will act on the health care plans at a later meeting.
Smith earned the county’s business last year, competing against two other health insurance consultants, when he packaged the Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy with Medi-Hop for an annual savings of almost $100,000 and better coverage for the county’s work force. The change ended a decade-plus relationship with the previous consultant group and switched the county’s primary policy from Humana back to Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Supervisors had used Blue Cross/Blue Shield up until 2012, when spiraling health costs prompted the change to Humana. During the two-year span with Humana, both supervisors and employees had complained about the coverage.
The county also provides dental insurance and a $15,000 life insurance policy for employees.