County gets pleasant surprise on insurance rates
County commissioners got a pleasant surprise Monday when they found out employee insurance premiums won’t rise much this year.
“This is going to be one of the best years in the last several years,” commissioner Randy Dallke said. “Ordinarily it’s been a sky-high increase.”
“With the rates coming in at the same rates, basically, my thought is we don’t need to shop around,” county clerk Tina Spencer said.
Claudio Faundez, group enrollment representative for Blue Cross Blue Shield, said the county’s claims during 2020 were lower than years past.
The company paid $742,845 during 2020. During 2019, it paid $1.247 million.
When the contract is renewed in May, the increase is expected to be 0.4% for health insurance and 2.2% for dental.
Coverage for electronically operated appliances or devices will be added, as will residential treatment centers.
Manufacturer coupons used to help pay for expensive prescriptions will no longer be counted toward the patient’s out-of-pocket cost, and the drug formulary has been revised. The formulary revision includes lancet devices for diabetic blood testing is now a covered prescription.
“What happens is, people will get these discount coupons and take them to the pharmacy,” Faundez said. “We reworded it so the discount cannot be applied to the deductible. The discount can still be applied to the cost.”
Commissioner David Crofoot said he has a hard time with BCBS not supporting local pharmacies.
“You talk about the mail-order pharmacy,” Crofoot said.
Faundez said it’s a matter of buying power. BCBS can buy drugs cheaper with its mail program than at local pharmacies.
Commissioners voted unanimously to accept BCBS’s bid.