Consultant: County finding savings in health plan changes (Video added)

Albany, Ga.: The consultant hired to help the Dougherty County Commission contain health care costs told the body Monday that most of the programs seem to be working.

The commission was forced to take drastic steps last year to close an almost $2 million increase in it's health costs for employees.

Those steps included reorganizing health plans and raising premiums; steps consultant Spencer Allen told the board appeared to be working.

Allen told the commission that the amount of money the board had saved on net health spending since the plan was implemented in January was trending near 17 percent.

Allen said that the commission's current fiscal year budget projections for health care spending is down $500,000.

At its current levels, the amount of money the county spends on its claims is projected to end the year almost $750,000 below what it was in 2009.

The hope is that the changes will help the county, which is self-insured, contain the costs associated with health care and avoid raising premiums for the next year.

Large claims- over $75,000- were up, however, Allen said.

"Those are the areas we really need to focus on, moving forward," Allen said. "Those are chronic conditions and diseases."