Reno County employees escape any health insurance hike – News – The Hutchinson News

Reno County employees will see no increase in health insurance premiums next year and no change in deductible limits, the Reno County Commission learned Tuesday.

“It’s a very positive renewal,” Human Resources Director Renee Harris advised the board. “We propose to keep the rates the same, but the county is positively affected as far as saving money.”

The county went to partial self-insurance two years ago, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas covering claims above $75,000.

Her office and an insurance consultant looked at the cost of going back to fully insured versus self-funded and found the county saving significantly with self-insurance.

The plan involves 818 people, including 379 employees, plus spouses or other dependents, Harris reported.

They develop their rates using two key factors, Harris said: expected claims, which make up 75 percent of the cost of health and dental, and claims administration.

It’s first year of self-insurance, the county had a $50,000 “stop loss” level, meaning when an individual’s claims hit that cap, insurance coverage took over. There were 12 claims that reached stop loss.

The county, however, upped its stop loss for the current fiscal year, to $75,000, which lowered the rate it was paying Blue Cross for the coverage.

There were only three claims that reached the cap this year, Harris said.

More than 70 percent of employees participate in the county’s high deductible plan, which has a $2,650 deductible for individuals and $5,300 for a family.

Premiums the employee pays for the plan – depending on participation in three levels of “wellness” that include a biometric screening, non-smoking and earning wellness points – range from no cost for an individual at the “gold level” to $284 a month for an employee and family with no wellness participation.

Rates the county’s Comprehensive Major Medical start at $87 a month and go up to $563.

An analysis of claims showed that county employees utilized only one of about a dozen health services categories at a higher average rate than other Blue Cross users – for rehabilitation and therapy – and that only slightly. For all other claims categories, Harris said, claims by county employees was below average.

Almost half of claims were for those over age 50, with the remainder spread from age 18 to 49.

“County claim payments through this year is $1.82 million,” Harris said. “In addition, employees paid $522,000.”

The county has budgeted $8.1 million in reserves for insurance.


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