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October 7, 2007

FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL COUNTY EMPLOYEES—INCLUDING COMMISSIONERS & OTHER ELECTED OFFICIALS

Did you know that County Employees have free health care? The County pays 100% of the employees’ premium for health insurance, the insurance pays 100% of in-patient and hospital costs, and there is a small co-pay for routine care of $15. As the insurance rep Mr. Fox told Commissioners at their September meeting, “I know the employees have enjoyed this. We currently don’t have a deductible. If a person is receiving inpatient or outpatient care, there is no deductible to meet before we start paying that any coinsurance level. Our coinsurance is 100 percent.”

No wonder the “loss ratio” is 125%--the insurance company paid out $1.25 for every $1.00 of premiums received. What does that mean? It means there will be a 35% rate increase. (Most businesses are seeing closer to 8%-10% this year.)

Current rates are $307.55 per employee; increasing to $415.19.

Current rates are $898.40 per family coverage; increasing to $1212.84.

The taxpayers are now paying $27,526.14 per month or approximately $330,000 annually for employee health insurance. The new increase will mean an additional $9,634 per month or $115,609 per year increase—a total of $445,609 per year for employee health insurance.

Does anyone wonder why there is such a large loss ratio? Why not? The employee has no incentive to stay well. If there is no cost, why not go to the doctor for every little ache and pain?

When asked about the increase, Mr. Fox replied, “There’s a large amount of maintenance drugs; RX drugs; a ton of heart attacks, ICU, large claims. There’s usually around a 90% loss ratio. These claims are still ongoing.”

Mr. Fox started to give other options. Option 3 would change the plan to alleviate the increase. They would offer a HMO/POS plan, a duel plan. The Co-pay would go from $15 to $25; Rx from $10 to $15. The increase would be $3,386/mo instead of $9634/mo. The plan would be identical with a few increases; those increases would be $5 per person and $151 per family.

He was interrupted by Comm. Bernard who made comments about helping the “underpaid” employees and wanting the county to pay all the premiums. This policy keeps the Commissioners from having to pay anything out of their pockets but it will also continue the high loss ratio and increasing premiums for the County and the Taxpayers to pay.

Comm. Johnson questioned the County Manager about how much was in the budget. The County Manager said, “We didn’t anticipate 35%. We put 20% in.” This increase and the free health insurance was approved 5-0. After the meeting 2 commissioners questioned the fact that employees did not have to pay anything at all—“Whoever heard of such?”—but no Commissioner had the backbone to state this in public.

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TWG
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