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Insurance Proposal Could Save The County Money

COFFEEVILLE – Supervisors are contemplating an unusual mid-year health insurance switch for county employees that could save the county almost $2,000 a month. The proposal came during a recessed meeting on May 11 as Ecru-based Affordable Employee Benefits representative Andrew Nowlin told supervisors his company could reduce the county’s monthly cost to insure 60-plus employees from $37,000 to $35,000 per month.

Nowlin noted the change would lock in the reduced rate through the end of 2018 by changing the secondary policy used by the county as a gap policy in conjunction with primary Blue Cross/Blue Shield provider. If implemented, the change would utilize Gulf Guarantee as the county’s gap insurance provider, switching from the current MediHop plan

After a lengthy discussion, supervisors opted not to make a decision during the May 11 meeting, instead waiting several weeks to review the policy and not make a quick decision.

“Changing insurance is a very big deal. My request to this board is if we could mull it no less than two weeks,” Board President Cayce Washington said as several supervisors appeared ready to pull the trigger on the proposal. 

Following an almost comical pitch from Nowlin to make the switch in time to lock in the change before June 1, Washington left the room to contact Mississippi Association of Supervisors Executive Director Derrick Surrette for input on the Gulf Guarantee’s service in the state.

“Derrick spoke highly of Gulf Guarantee,” Washington said when he reentered the room. “He spoke specifically about this Med Plus plan, he said that is where y’all really shine.” Washington also relayed Surrette’s comments that he would not have any reservation about making the change. 

“It’s a mid-year deal, we usually don’t this until the first of the year,” Chancery Clerk Amy McMinn explained about the deviation from the typical January 1 policy renewal. McMinn was among county officials  requesting additional time to review the material presented by Nowlin. She also noted that the county’s current secondary insurance provider required a 60-day notice for cancellation. 

The proposal was tabled until June, as supervisors agreed to research several lingering questions. If the change is made, it is expected to start on July 1.

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