In a special meeting Thursday, Betty Crossland, a representative of National Insurance Services, Carmel, outlined a health insurance renewal proposal to the Common Council of the City of Brazil.
Crossland explained the proposal to renew services on the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Lumenos HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangements) Plan included minor tweaking which kept the increase of premiums to a minimum.
"After an employee surpasses the HRA allocation and bridge to satisfy the deductible, the new plan proposes an 80/20 co-insurance for in-network services compared to the complete coverage under the current plan," she said. "By making this change, premiums would only increase by 0.007 percent, or about $4,000 across all departments."
Crossland added the change may not affect a majority of city employees as only 14 percent had surpassed their HRA allocation and bridge as of the end of March on the plan that began Aug. 1, 2008.
"Many of the benefits will remain the same including the city's HRA contribution and bridge amount for both the single and family coverages," Crossland said. "This is a very competitive and a great protection plan with a minimal premium increase."
While both the council and the insurance board were in favor of the terms of the proposed plan, one issue was addressed.
"The plan is good, but we still want to work on pushing the renewal date back to Jan. 1 of each year," Brazil City Fire Department Captain and insurance board representative Joe Bennet said in reference to having to potentially prorate the HRA contribution and other coverage maximums with the current Aug. 1 renewal dates. "The big thing about this is we want to avoid making changes to the benefits during the calendar year."
Brazil City Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Raymond Staub agreed, stating a Jan. 1 renewal date would help the city better budget for the next full year.
"With the increase in premiums unknown from year to year, it is difficult for the city to budget the appropriate funding for the entire year when jumps could occur each August," he said. "It would make things easier to plan for the future when the insurance is set for the full year."
Crossland said she understood the city's concern of having the plan renew Aug. 1, and the benefits package renew each Jan. 1, but was unsure if the city could make that change.
"With the size of the city's insurance group under 100, it is probably unlikely to make that change, at least this time," she said. "But I will discuss the matter further with representatives from Anthem to see what can be done."
Mayor Ann Bradshaw said there is the possibility of adding three employees from the trustee's office to the plan as a subgroup.
"If it is feasible to bring them onto our plan, it would be at no cost to the city as they would be responsible for their own costs," Bradshaw said.
Crossland added by having the potential additional plan members as a subgroup, the city would not be penalized in the event sufficient payments could not be made to maintain the plan on the new members.
While there are some out-of-pocket costs incurred by employees after the HRA contribution and deductible bridge are used up, the plan would cover 100 percent of the costs after a set maximum amount.
"On a calendar basis, there is a out-of-pocket maximum of $5,000 on single and $10,000 on family coverage that, if exceeded, the plan would cover all medical costs," Crossland said. "In the end, it is actually less with the city's HRA allocation of $500/$1,000 and the bridge amounts of $1,000/$2,000 on the respective single and family plans."
With the renewal date less than a month away, the council voted to accept the plan for another year, and representatives from Anthem are scheduled to conduct presentations of the plan to city employees Monday.
"The city has always tried to find the best deal from one year to the next and hasn't been with one company long enough to establish a good working relationship," Staub said. "We are trying to establish that now."
The next regular meeting of the Common Council of the City of Brazil will be Tuesday, July 14, following a public hearing regarding a proposed reestablishment of the Cumulative Capital Development Fund at 7 p.m., in the Council Chambers of City Hall.