Changing circumstances for the Greene County Commission have turned a potential $980,000 savings to the county for insurance costs into an almost $319,000 loss.
In the weeks following a meeting where the Greene County Commission, in a split vote, chose to withdraw from the county’s health plan with Midwest Public Risk, the potential new insurer withdrew their bid leaving the county with no choice but to remain with their old provider.
United Healthcare, whose bid had been preferred by Commissioners Russell and Dixon in the vote, withdrew their bid to the county after Sheriff Jim Arnott stated he would not keep his employees in the county plan and other county elected officials expressed misgivings about the UH plan.
With no alternatives, the county had no choice but to return to their old insurance provider, Midwest Public Risk, whose new plans will cost the county almost $319,000 in additional funding as the county is looking at a drop off in revenue estimated to be $4.1 million in current budget office projections.
County Budget head Jeff Scott told the Commission he is talking to elected officials about their budgets to see if the county will reimburse the $4.1 million to their reserves over two or three years, and what cuts can be made to office holder budgets.
The Commission decided to go forward with the health plans provided by MPR, which are similar to current plans. County employees will have their coverage paid for by the county, while employees will pay a part of the coverage for any dependents. The county’s contribution overall to dependent coverage only increased in the option involving HSAs with Mercy.
“It’s a very good compromise,” Commissioner Harold Bengsch said during the discussion.
Greene County makes up about 10 percent of the pool for Midwest Public Risk. Dixon noted that had the Commission received the data they asked for from MPR, they would have had at least two more options for insurance carriers.
Sheriff Jim Arnott expressed his pleasure with the Commission’s decision to OI.
“I was seeking a rate that Greene County could afford with caps made so we can budget for the next 3 years,” Arnott said. “The other company had an increase of over 30% the second year, which would be millions that we could not afford. The company that the Commission went with does have the rate caps. I feel that was the right choice based on the second year prediction of well over 30%. I was concerned due to have the largest amount of employees that would be affected.”
Commissioner John Russell referenced those caps when the initial vote took place, stating that the savings from year one would have been used in year two to offset any increase. A third year with a 30% increase would have been rendered moot as Russell said the Commission would have rebid after two years.