But the savings to the county would have been on the back of employees who live out of the county. It would also have required some employees to change doctors or pay more to keep their doctor, as not all of the current providers accept the lower-cost insurance.
The Spalding County Board of Commissioners voted 4-1 to stay with current provider CIGNA for medical and dental coverage. CIGNA’s offer keeps the current rates and pricing for the county and the employees.
Board of Commissioners Chairman Eddie Freeman was opposed.
“The sticking point for me,” Freeman said, “was the savings could have been used as a cost-of-living increase for employees. That’s not much, but it could have helped offset some of the increase in employee contributions for those impacted.”
Commissioner Raymond Ray, in his motion to accept the CIGNA offer, said the decision to stay with CIGNA was based on the impact on employees.
Matt Bidwell, of MSI Benefits Group, said in a “disruption analysis, 20 percent of members saw providers not in the Blue Cross HMO.”
County Manager William Wilson Jr. said the county has 140 employees (173 insured members, which includes spouses and children) living in Lamar, Pike, Meriwether and Upson counties, not covered by the HMO.
In offers from both CIGNA and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia, the HMO prices were the same, the difference and savings came in the Point of Service (CIGNA) or PPO (Blue Cross) prices.
The CIGNA total cost to the county is $5,125,797, the same as the current price. The Blue Cross price was 3.8 percent less, at $4,952,386.
Employee buy-up prices, to get POS or PPO instead of HMO, remain the same with CIGNA, but would have gone up with Blue Cross.
For example, a family covered under the HMO pays $442.88 a month. For the CIGNA POS cost is $595.62 a month, but for Blue Cross PPO the price would be $655.20 a month.
The county will require all employees and insured adults to submit to biometric scans, which will help determine any existing health problems and help develop treatment plans.
Wilson said they had 117 volunteers participate last time the scan was offered. Those who had it done in February, he said, will not have to do it again.
Wilson said the test is a finger stick, that checks for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes.
Bidwell said the tests will categorize employees buy health conditions and those at high risk will get a call from CIGNA to set up a personal-health coach and medications to help move the employee or insured down one category. He committed $1,100 to the county for additional wellness programs for each person this individual treatment cannot move down one category.