Cost of city health insurance jumps nine percent 11/26/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cost of city health insurance jumps nine percent

By John Howell Sr.

Batesville’s mayor and aldermen have learned that starting Jan. 1 the city will see a nine percent increase in the cost of health insurance premium for its employees.

Clark Insurance Agency representative Brad Clark and Morgan White Agency representative Brad Camp brought the news to city officials at their Nov. 19 meeting.

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“Obamacare has hit the city,” Clark said.

“Health care reform fees are four percent; and the healthcare reform benefit are another five percent,” he added.

The city pays health insurance premiums for its employees as a benefit. The new pricing will remain in effect until May, 2014 when the city renews its contract with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of MS.

“You will renew on your merit May 1,” Clark said.

The five percent for healthcare reform benefit will pay to bring the city’s policy in compliance with mandates of the Affordable Care Act.

“It actually can be better for some people,” Clark said, for people with heavy monthly medical expenses. “People who are never sick; never use drugs … come out worse.”

“That’s the whole plan,” Alderman Eddie Nabors said. “I actually thought it may be worse.”
The city saw a 20 percent reduction in the cost of its health insurance at its May 2013 renewal, a reduction partly attributable to preventive health practices by insured city employees and dependents

“Every May we are judged on our on merits of our losses,” Mayor Jerry Autrey said, “and we need to get all our superintendents to tell our help that they better get on this Healthy You, … get that exam or we’re going to end up … paying $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 deductible.”

“Remember that Healthy You is free,” Clark said, referring to a free annual physical exam for people insured by Blue Cross.

In other city business at the Nov. 19 meeting:

• Aldermen approved a $4,528.60 work change order to pay for a ground transformer to complete installation of electrical service to recreational vehicle pads under construction at the Batesville Civic Center;

•   Approved Police Chief Tony Jones’ request for an officer to be allowed to work at a part-time job;

•   Approved Jones’ request to be allowed to place seat belt reminder signs along Tiger Drive;
•   Approved a letter to the Mississippi Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) requesting slower posted speed limits on Highway 6;

•   Accepted City Code Administrator Pam Comer’s recommendation that a public notice for a rezoning hearing scheduled for 103 Redbud be cancelled. The property owner had withdrawn the request, she said;

•   Asked the city attorney to determine whether the city can legally honor a request from the Batesville Lions Clubs for funding assistance to host a district meeting that is expected to bring to Batesville over 1,200 visitors representing 62 clubs.