In a special meeting on Monday, the Conway City Council will hear proposals for supplemental city employee health insurance plans.
The meeting and proposals are not a response to news from the city’s employee health insurance provider, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Health Advantage, that premiums are going up by about 28 percent at the first of the year, city human resources director Lisa Mabry-Williams said, and the proposals have been on the table since before the rate increase came to light.
However, the proposals would be something that city employees could use to improve their insurance coverage, Mabry-Williams said.
In coming weeks city officials will discuss plans that lower premiums by increasing employee "out of pocket" costs for medical care. Currently, an employee must pay a $1,000 deductible "out of pocket" before the city health insurance would pay expenses over the deductible. For the same employee who also insures family members, a family member seeking medical care would also have to meet a second $1,000 out-of-pocket deductible before they would be covered. Under the current plan, the hypothetical employee and his family would be covered for further family medical expenses once two $1,000 out-of-pocket deductible amounts have been paid regardless of how many family members are covered or how many medical claims are filed.
A main difference between the current plan and those that have been proposed is the need to meet more "out of pocket" deductible amounts before coverage begins under proposed plans. The city currently offers "gap" coverage that employees have the option to buy that works as a form of insurance that pays these deductibles rather than medical costs directly. Insurance companies Aflac and Benefit Partners will propose more "gap" coverage options at the meeting, and these would provide employees who opt to buy them with more options to soften the "out of pocket" increases.
Other supplemental insurance plans that will be proposed include so-called "dread disease" policies providing coverage for specific diseases like cancer or heart disease. These supplemental policies would be purchased by the employee.
Mabry-Williams said that proposals directly addressing the premium increases might be discussed at the next council meeting.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)