0

Dougherty County employees may absorb some of insurance increases

ALBANY, Ga. — Dougherty County employees will be looking at an increase in insurance premiums starting in 2013 if recommendations made by the county’s Insurance Review Committee are accepted by the County Commission.

Spencer Allen, senior vice president/practice leader with Wells Fargo Insurance’s Employee Benefits Consulting Group, the county’s insurance consultant, told commissioners during their Wednesday-morning meeting projected increases in medical and dental costs for 2013 point to a “modest” increase of 3 percent in the county’s medical plan and 12 percent in its dental plan.

If implemented, projected increases would include pretax costs of $16.85 per month for individual employees, $33.63 for employees plus one, and $43.65 for families on the county’s base medical plan, which has a $1,000 deductible. For the county’s “buy-up” plan, which has a $500 deductible, the increases would be $18.40 for single employees, $36.72 for employee plus one and $47.66 per month for families.

Projected dental increases would be $11.65, $12.93 and $13.81 a month for each group.

“Our primary consideration here is giving our employees affordable health care with quality benefits,” Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said. “The last thing we want to do is create more burden for anyone, but health insurance has become ridiculously expensive.

“There will be pain for our employees, but there is pain on both sides. We have not increased employee costs in the last three years, but in this economic climate we have to take steps like this to assure continued balance. We want to continue to take care of our employees, as difficult as it has become.”

Allen announced the recommendations during an update of the county’s group health plan.

“The last time the county increased its employee premiums was July 1, 2010,” Allen told the board. “The Insurance Review Committee felt that the best course was to incorporate modest premium increases rather than make benefit changes.”

The recommendations were met with a degree of skepticism from most on the commission.

“I’m concerned about the impact this is going to have on our employees,” District 2 Commissioner John Hayes said. “Did the committee give any consideration to phasing these changes in rather than dropping them on our employees all at one time?”

However, District 1 Commissioner Lamar Hudgins reminded others at the table that the county’s insurance woes ran much deeper not too long ago.

“We have to remember we’re not too far removed from the city and Water, Gas & Light running the insurance and we get an ‘Oh, by the way ...’ and find out we had to cough up a million bucks,” Hudgins said.

Sinyard, too made reference to the joint city/county/WG&L insurance fiasco.

“We’ve made significant changes since we found out our insurance was two and a half million dollars in the hole,” the chairman said. “We managed to dig out of that by modifying our plan and by developing a wellness program that promoted better health among our employees. Of course, we also found out we were insuring 60 folks who were not even our employees, so we purged our rolls and worked to develop a sound plan.

“Insurance is one of the most feared expenses in the business world today; health insurance has created some incredible difficulties for businesses and for agencies like the county. We’re trying to maintain and keep quality health care in place for our employees.”

District 4 Commissioner Ewell Lyle said he’d like to see some concessions made for employees covered under the county’s family plan.

“I have a problem with people under the family plan being punished,” he said. “But I also believe our employees have to know what we’re facing. That’s how we got in trouble in the past, by trying to insulate our employees from health care increases.”

To which Hudgins added: “That and the fact the city was running things.”

Commissioner Gloria Gaines sought and received consensus backing for smaller increases in the county’s dental plan, which could reduce increases to “less than $5 a month.”

Comments

Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

No different in the business world some companies absorb increases more thab others but at some point portions of the increases has to pass down to the employees. As OBAMA care moves forward you can expect more increases in the future. Somebody has to pay for all the cost of OBAMA care. The people that work will pay for those that dont just like every other government program.

2

hotdog 2 years, 1 month ago

Yessir...blame Obama....or Bush depending on who you ask

0

VSU 2 years, 1 month ago

So we should blame Bush for Obama Don't Care?.... then again why not?... they blame Bush for everything else, even slavery.

1

whattheheck 2 years, 1 month ago

I blame the bunch of idiots in Congress who passed the bill so we could see what was in it. But as one who has paid a very substantial amount for health insurance for too many years to count with a significant increase every year, I don't have much sympathy for those who have not had an increase in three years.

0

classydi 2 years, 1 month ago

Whattheck, you have no clue what you are talking about...

0

Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

Trust me a meager 3% is a bargain. Some are seeing as much as 10.0% as for medical insurance. Insurance companies are basically being nationalized by the United States Obama lead Federal Government. Obana Care is basically a tax increase on the American people of all colors and income levels. Of course non working welfare people are exempted.

0

Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

A year ago Obama was boasting about the new Chevy Volt Car. He pumped billions into General Motors all while talking about cars like the Volt. Ask yourself how many do you see on the road. Very few have been sold they had lots problems cost a lot etc. At one point GM stopped production. They could not sell. Not sure if they evet resolved problems and pricing and re started production??? GM (Gov Motors)

0

Shinedownfan 2 years, 1 month ago

I read the other day that tax dollars are subsidizing $49,000 for each Chevy Volt. Money you and me paid into the system... paying for a car no one wants!

0

Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

We are the government because we elect them so we must pay for our government policies and promotions.

0

USTPC 2 years, 1 month ago

WE? I did not vote for Obama or the democratic congressman that passed Obamacare. To bad I cannot choose not to have my tax dollars used for Obama care and not have to pay the $1000 tax if I do not have insurance.

0

RedEric 2 years, 1 month ago

The Chevy Volt cost $76,000 to build and sells for $39,000. They will make it up in volume. Medicare got a 10% increase last year. When the government gets involved in ANYTHING, the cost goes up and the efficiency goes down. A government is not designed to control costs. A government is designed to control people. That is why a shrinking number of us want a smaller government. Democrats stated that we all belong to the government. Scary ain't it?

2

chinaberry25 2 years, 1 month ago

Speaking of Obamacare, if you are approaching Medicare age, you had better have a doctor already in place. Most GP in Albany as well as internal medicine doctors do not accept Medicare patients. You cannot even be self pay, they do not want you. So what are you going to do? Go to the hospital and if you think the wait time is bad not, just wait. Then there will be 1000's of dollars for tests and they will not really treat you for a disease, only put a patch of bandages on it and send you home still sick with a few pills. Not long term pills you may need.

0

Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

Obama Care is first step toward Socialist State.

0

Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

Obama's policies and deliberate actions seem to mirror the way Hugo Chavez has taken over the.government in Venuzalla Souh America.

0

alleebrin 2 years, 1 month ago

And to add insult to injury, Hugo Chavez and his dictatorship own PETRO, PETRO EXPRESS and CITGO. PLEASE, FOLKS, DON'T BUY YOUR GAS FROM THESE STATIONS!!!

0

theworkingclass23 2 years, 1 month ago

My insurance premiums went up 4 times during Bush's tenure as president. Was that Obama Care also?

0

VSU 2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks to Obama don't care my insurance premiums went up. When Bush was president my premiums were lower.

0

Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

I honestly doubt the countys 3% is Obama related yet. I suspect insurance company taking this opportunity to get 3% now and then as Obama Care attempts to move forward they will add the real cost. When insurance cost to much for companies to absorb they will pass a portion to employees and increase price of product or services. Nothing is Free unless you are on Welfare.

1

Amazed2 2 years, 1 month ago

Yea Obama and Biden both brag they saved General Motors they neglect to tell the public about the subsidy the Goverment pumps into the program Like the above person points every Volt cost almost $80000 to build and GM tries to sell for about $39000 each. Still not many takers even with Obama giving GM over $40000 per car to defray actual cost. I guess this is the Obama energy program.

0

Sign in to comment