Two members of the Greenville City Council decided to stay with the current medical insurance provider with one recusal and one ‘nay’ vote though other options seemed to provide significant savings to the employees and city.
Council member Lurann Thomas made the motion to continue with the current provider, which has been in place since 2014, during an Aug. 11 specially called council meeting.
“We’ve never had a problem with the current insurance,” Thomas said. “From my understanding, the employees are fairly happy with it.”
Thomas went on to say the provider reduced the rate $113,000 over the previous year. During the request for proposal process, insurance providers presented three different plans to the city for consideration.
The total cost for each of those plans are:
* Renewal with Nick Floyd and Associates at $2,714,513;
* BXS Insurance group at $2,458,068; and
* iOne Benefits Group at $2,388,844.
The three insurance programs differ in their costs, deductible and providers. The current provider has a $500 deductible, $1,000 max out of pocket and a $594 premium for employee only coverage.
The BSX proposal has a $500 deductible, $1,710 max out of pocket and a $533 premium for employee only coverage. The iOne Proposal has a $500 deductible, $1,000 max out of pocket and a $520 premium for employee only coverage.
The iOne proposal drops the deductible if the patient uses Delta Regional Medical Center as their hospital. The proposal also drops the primary doctor copay of $30 if the doctor is affiliated with DRMC.
Several members of the local medical community expressed concern about the council making a decision that doesn’t take advantage of a cost savings and opting out of a system that directly benefits the local medical system at DRMC.
Council member Al Brock said earlier last week he was not pleased with the decision and his was the only dissenting vote on the motion.
“The issue was that there was a difference in the proposal iOne gave in that they are what’s referred to in the industry as a ‘self-insured’ program,” Brock explained.
He said iOne’s particular program coordinates and works with Delta Regional Medical Center and the advantages provided in that partnership include city employees being able to go to any of DRMC’s clinics or physicians and have services rendered without paying a deductible.
“The other two didn’t have anything like that,” Brock said. “The benefits were just tremendous with iOne.” He noted iOne is also used by DRMC employees.
Brock said he felt the a council passed up an excellent opportunity to pick up a new healthcare provider for the employees at considerable savings to the city and employees, as well as better healthcare and the chance to support the local hospitals and medical establishments.
Mayor Errick Simmons did not cast a vote in the decision and deferred comment on the decision to the council members who voted on it.
“In a strong council, weak mayor form of government, it is best to ask this question to the city councilpersons who voted to continue with the currently accepted insurance program,” Simmons said via email. “I stand fully in support of our medical community and value their input regarding health care. Although I did not cast a vote on the selection of the city’s health insurance, I continue to have an open-door policy and welcome all members of our local medical community to reach out to me to voice their concerns.”