Health switch touted to save county $27,000

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- The latest in a series of changes to the Dougherty County Commission's health insurance platform should save the county $27,000 annually over the next three year, a consultant said Monday.

Spencer Allen, a Wells Fargo consultant who has been working with the county's insurance review committee to overhaul a county health program that went upside down last year, told commissioners he believed the switch to Meritain Health Inc. from Group Resources Inc. would result in financial savings and increased efficiency.

The change is part of an overhaul of the county's health insurance platform that, if it performs as expected, is projected to save the county $1.6 million over the fiscal year.

The contract price with Meritain is also $27,000 cheaper than what the county is currently paying Group Resources.

Allen told commissioners that he and the committee reviewed 11 different companies that responded to a request for proposals and that Meritain was not only the best value, but offered the best coverage.

"This is an issue that is strangling this country today," Chairman Jeff Sinyard said of health care reform. "I think we should consider ourselves lucky that we've managed to right the ship without the taxpayers having to fork over more money while trying to keep our employees able to put some food on the table."

Allen said that net utilization of health insurance by county employees is down almost 21 percent from last year, although the high-dollar large-claim category -- anything more than $50,000 -- is up.