Commissioners consider insurance costs

Friday, October 17, 2008

CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County commissioners will attempt to negotiate a better discount from their current health insurance provider before deciding to renew or shop around.

County Clerk Junior DeLay presented commissioners with the renewal quote from their current health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, during the regular County Commission meeting Thursday.

While officials would not divulge the renewal offer, they agreed it is much better than expected.

"We've had a good loss ratio for two years," DeLay said.

Based on quotes received for other clients, however, the county's insurance agent said he may be able to get an even better quote from another provider, according to DeLay.

DeLay said some of the quotes are from "A-rated companies."

"In other words, change companies," Commissioner Homer Oliver said.

"He thinks he can beat the heck out of Blue Cross," DeLay said. He said some clients have had quotes from these other companies for as much as 24 percent lower than their respective quote from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Changing companies would mean filling out applications again, DeLay said, although "it's a pretty simple application."

On the other hand, Blue Cross Blue Shield has offered a discount on their renewal if the county acts quickly, DeLay said.

"They'll knock 1 percent off if you lock in by Nov. 3," he said.

Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said he has concerns about the possibility that another insurance company could require the county to go out of the area to find health care providers in their network.

"I just don't want to change unless we get a good company," he said.

"Blue Cross goes everywhere," DeLay noted. "Just about everywhere."

Blumenberg asked DeLay to see if Blue Cross Blue Shield would offer them a 2 percent discount to renew before Nov. 3.

The county's annual health insurance premium for 2008 was $371,500, a policy which has a $3,000 deductible, according to DeLay.

He said the county currently has 63 enrollees in its health insurance program and only three or four of those have dependent coverage.

In other business Thursday, commissioners agreed they are happy with the asphalt overlays on County Road 215 laid by the Missouri Department of Transportation.

MoDOT offered the overlays as reimbursement for a culvert the county installed for the state.

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