By Chris Johnson
With costs of insurance rising, the Oregon City Council took steps last week to manage the expense.
Finance commissioner Ken Williams opened discussion on the renewal of employee health insurance before a vote during the June 10 city council meeting.
“We have worked hard to make revenue and expenses equal,” he said. “An ongoing issue is health insurance.”
In 2006 the cost of insurance to the city was $200,000, he said. Last year it was $331,000.
“This has averaged an eight percent increase per year,” said Williams. “One of every $20 spent is on health insurance. This has doubled in the last eight years.”
The current cost to the city is $18,000 per year per employee for the $20,000 insurance premium. Employees are responsible for 10 percent of their premium, Williams said.
Williams held meetings with department heads, employees and their families to discuss the insurance plan.
“There are options to reign in costs,” he said. “We expect to save $30,000 to $40,000 under this plan.”
Ed Burns from National Financial Partners, Rockford, explained details of the plan to the council and employees at the meeting.
“We are trying to present plans that will be here for years,” said Burns. “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois is the largest insurer in the state and also has the largest network for specialists.”
He said the plan presented to the council was a $500 individual deductible plan. After the deductible, medical care is covered at 90 percent.
“At $1,400 spent out of pocket then everything is 100 percent covered as an individual,” Burns said.
For family coverage, he said, the rate is simply two times an individual’s deductible. One-thousand deductible and $2,800 out of pocket cap.
The plan as presented does not have traditional copays for doctor visits or prescriptions.
“At the pharmacy everything is 10 percent instead of a copay,” he said.
He explained that the fees paid apply towards the yearly maximum out of pocket.
Under the plans some employees will save money and others may see an increased in medical spending.
Patrick Wiesner, Thomas Izer, and Williams voted yes, Tom Miller voted no, and Mayor Tom Stone passed.