Wednesday, October 19, 2011

City Health Insurance: Late Addendums

The City of San Angelo planned to present its 2012 health insurance recommendation on October 4.  The topic didn't make any October Council agenda.

With no information I cruised the City's web site for requests for medical coverage proposals.  I found the original, plus a number of addendums.  One started with:

The City is very interested in a single provider option. If you are quoting medical, please make sure to include this option if available.
Of course the City is looking for the best deal, but there are other considerations.  Mayor Alvin New wants Shannon Medical Center to kick in Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT).  Might the city use health insurance to arm twist Shannon?

Last year the city passed on small costs to employees but draconian increases to employee and retiree dependents.  The jury is out on changes for 2012, so says the City:

Q.  Is the City still planning to pay all of the employee's premium except for $16.00, or will there be another scenario?

A.  The City contribution for next fiscal year is unknown. This will be determined based on the bid results. 
The City told health insurance companies not to submit bids with higher premium costs.  That means bids should hold the line on costs, causing coverage levels to deteriorate significantly.

On retiree health insurance (Over 65) the city takes one stand:

Post 65 cost is $301.90 PEPM. That amount is broken down below:

$194.90 Hartford
$107.00 Rx (BCBS)
$301.90 Total

The $301.90 is the amount the spouse is billed if they are Hartford participants – the City makes no contribution to the spouse amount.

$16.50 is what the post 65 retiree pays, so the City’s contribution is $285.40.
Later the city stated:

There is no Post 65 RX plan
Clear? Only the bidders can say for sure.

Employees and retirees know the city wouldn't institute new taxes for 2011, effectively throwing 192 people off city sponsored health coverage.  For 2012 Council budgeted new money, which should cause employees/retirees to face greater out of pocket costs due to deteriorating coverage.  It will be a different kind of hit, but a hit just the same.

Update 10-21-11:  Walmart, where many COSA employees have a second job, announced cuts in health benefits for workers.  

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