County Council hopes Commission reconsiders health insurance selection

The president and other members of the Vanderburgh County Council hopes the County Commission reconsiders its decision on which one of two health insurance plans should be provided to non-union county employees in 2018. Last week, the commissioners voted 2-1 in favor of the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance plan despite it costing the taxpayers an additional $1 million annually. 

The County Commission will again take up the issue at its meeting on Tuesday.

On Monday, County Council President John Montrastelle penned a letter to the county commissioners, expressing his desire for them to reconsider selecting Anthem's plan instead of one provided by Central States. 

"Bringing tax relief to Vanderburgh County taxpayers doesn't come around very often. This is an opportunity to save well over a million dollars," Montrastelle said.

According to the proposals, Anthem's 2018 plan featured lesser prescription drug costs, which was a sticking point for many county employees at last week's special commission meeting. However, Anthem's plan has higher co-pays, higher out-of-pocket maximums and no short term disability. The plan offered by Central States also includes dental, vision and life insurance benefits at no extra cost.

The projected cost to the taxpayers for the Anthem Plan is $12,070,413.36 in 2018. Additionally, the plan could have cost increases in the coming years, Montrastelle said.

The projected cost of the Central States plan is $11,052,266.20, a little more than $1 million cheaper than Anthem's plan. Another benefit of the Central States plan is the fact that prices could essentially be "locked in" for the next three years.

The savings to the taxpayers could exceed $5.8 million when the cost of operating the employee health clinic is taken into consideration, Montrastelle said. 

"We look very hard at how we spend our tax dollars. I know the County Commissioners do too," Montrastelle said. "To me, this is an opportunity to save a lot of money for the taxpayers."

Another important distinction between the two plans is whether they are fully insured of self insured. Anthem's plan is fully insured, meaning the insurance company will pay for employee claims. These types of plans typically feature lesser risk for the policy holder but are generally more expensive.

Central State's plan is self insured, meaning the county will pay for employee claims. Self insured plans typically have more risk for the policy holders with lower costs being the trade-off. 

Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave pointed to the City of Evansville's $4 million in medical debt as the reason why the county should opt for the fully insured plan. However, Montrastelle said the Central States plan is the same plan used by the Teamsters.

"This is not a new plan to Vanderburgh County. We've had this plan since 2014," Montrastelle said. "We paid 100 percent of the costs to about 172 Teamster employees with no issue." 

Montrastelle and Councilman Joe Kiefer both said they were disappointed with the Commission's decision but didn't want to second guess it. Montrastelle was very complimentary of Commissioner Bruce Ungethiem's work in negotiating the 2017 healthcare plan which featured no rate increase. Montrastelle hopes the Commissioners can approach 2018 with the same kind of diligence. 

Because Central States did not have a representative at last week's commissioners meeting, Montrastelle hopes the Commissioners hold another meeting and ask that Central States have a representative attend. Spending an additional $1 million a year -- and perhaps even more -- could be money better spent elsewhere.

"There are hundreds of things we can do," Montrastelle said. "Better roads, improvements to Burdette Park, you name it. We could hire additional staff at the jail. There are a lot of ways we can use those dollars."

Commissioner Ben Shoulders voted against the Anthem plan.


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • Home For The Holidays Page
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Tristate Professionals
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Pro Football Challenge
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Dr. Oz Wellness Network
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Community Calendar
    Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Video Center