Aragon picks new company to cover health insurance
The change avoids a $600 price hike, even bringing a $71 cut in premiums.
Aragon council members are expected to renew their health insurance in November, but with county wide price increases, the group said farewell to their Humana plan in exchange for a OneDigital plan.
The change resulted in a $71 decrease in premiums, while avoiding a $600 premium increase from Humana.
The employees haven’t made the switch yet, and the current Humana plan covers city employees for a total monthly premium of $3,364.89.
Each employee still pays their premiums out of their paychecks, but the cost to their own bottom line is lower. Employees pay a total of $ 776.36 in premiums, and the city covers the remaining $2,588.48 that makes up the $ 3,364.89 figure.
Switching to OneDigital’s Silver Plan was the council’s way of saving personal and city money.
The new plan has an employee portion of $ 758.18 and a city portion of $2,534.98 that adds up to a $3,293.12 monthly premium.
“The silver plan is almost exactly the same as our current one. The only difference is OneDigital has higher co-pays,” Mayor Garry Baldwin said.
The figure isn’t as black and white as usual, however. The employees decided the city would pay 100 percent- or $ 39,517 in annual health insurance premiums- so council members could put money towards insurance coverage for their families as well.
“We’d have to almost double that part of the budget, but I think we could do it,” Baldwin said.
The group isn’t going to spend money Aragon doesn’t have, and the mayor’s plan t o save money in the long term is to cut back on nonessentials.
“We might have t o streamline some of the other things,” Baldwin mentioned. “Cut down on the wish list some.”
The need for new insurance choices and thus the OneDigital option that was taken when the city’s former health care plan provider threatened to increase by nearly $600 when they renewed on Nov. 17.
“We have $2,000 in the budget,” Mayor Garry Baldwin explained. “We’re already paying $2,500 per month in health insurance. We’ll have to come up with some extra money if we don’t go to the silver plan,” Baldwin said.
The Humana renewal would bring the total premium cost to $ 3,916.36. Employees would pay $ 907.72; the city would pay $3,008.70 monthly.
Also mentioned by the mayor was the instability of any proposed numbers.
“The figure will change when we gain or lose employees. When I go to hire employees, I can’t ask if they plan to use our insurance,” Baldwin said.
Health care increases are a problem all over Polk County, with municipalities coming up with ways to save money by going to the negotiating table with the help of companies like ShawHankins, or by taking other avenues that would significantly decrease monthly premiums.
For instance, the City of Cedartown decided to enter negotiations with Primary Healthcare to provide clinic access for general medical needs for employees at no cost. Cedartown city manager Bill Fann previously said it was a way to reduce the number of health insurance claims made by employees annually for items like annual checkups or the need to see a doctor for ailments that don’t require a visit to the hospital, like a stomach virus or the flu.
The Aragon City Council gets down to business on Sept. 21 for their regular meeting, approving a number of items including their new health insurance provider.