In a unanimous vote during Friday’s called meeting the Floyd County Commission voted to change the healthcare plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association to CIGNA, which will increase healthcare premiums by 3% and save the county nearly $500,000.
“CIGNA is bringing more to the table than Blue Cross,” Chuck Shaw of Garner and Glover Co. said.
Shaw was on the committee which has been looking at the county’s insurance policy for the past few years, County Manager Jamie McCord said. Blue Cross, which is owned by Anthem, is not the company it used to be, Shaw said, large local companies like Shaw Industries Group and Floyd Medical Center both carry CIGNA for their employees.
Overall, the coverage would mostly stay the same, he said however there may be some changes in prescription costs. The county would still buy into the insurance at the same percentage it is now, which is around 70%.
McCord said the healthcare plan needs to be changed immediately since the current plan under Blue Cross Blue Shield has caused concern among county administration. The health care fund was over $4 million in 2015 McCord said, but due to rising claims the fund has been brought down to about $800,000. The new plan will help offset some of those costs while still offering good benefits for its employees, he said.
“I’m not telling you we are the best, I’m telling you we are competitive,” McCord said.
Currently about 500 county employees are enrolled on the county insurance plan.
There are about 1,000 total if you take into account families, spouses and dependents, Shaw told Commissioner Rhonda Wallace.
Commission Chair Scotty Hancock said the county is trying to give its employees a balanced plan that gave them good benefits without costing too much.
Commissioners heard from two Floyd County employees who expressed concerns about switch. Sgt. Josh Harkins, of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, and Joseph Ineichen both expressed concerns about the new plan at the beginning of the meeting.
Ineichen said he remembered when the county first carried CIGNA — during the 1990s — and local providers declined to see them under CIGNA. McCord said while they did have those issues 20 years ago local providers will not have any issue accepting the county’s new healthcare plan.
Harkins said the sheriff’s office already had trouble recruiting and retaining officers and an increase in premiums would make it even more difficult.
McCord said he met with Sheriff Tim Burkhalter to discuss recruitment issues and listed several incentives the county has passed to improve recruitment among local law enforcement.