RE Sutton and
Associates of Carmel, Ind. is in and Anton Insurance is out as Porter County
government’s insurance servicing agent for the employee health plan.
which has been the servicing agent for 25 years with the County, sent notice
to the Commissioners on Friday that it will be resigning effective April 1.
Three days before,
Anton Insurance principal Mike Anton was at last week’s Commissioners
meeting for the discussion on renewals on contracts pertaining to the
County’s healthcare plan for employees and elected officials. Anton with
Troy Scott of R&R Benefits described the savings netted from the decision
made two years ago to switch to INETICO’s cost-plus plan and selecting
Benefit Administrative Systems as a third-party administrator in January
Scott last week
said the County is paying insurance claims totaling under $8 million, the
lowest it’s been in nearly a decade. Commissioner President Jeff Good,
R-Center, however expressed qualms over the plan’s setup with different
renewal dates, auto renewal procedures and administrative costs.
returned Tuesday for a special meeting to make final decisions and make
changes where necessary.
In the end, the
Commissioners voted 3-0 to keep the plan as it is. Approved on a motion by
Commissioner Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, was the organ transplant contract
with AIG and the third-party administrator contract with BAS.
Scott McClure said that the contract with INETICO was automatically renewed
in December and therefore no changes could be made at this time. A press
release issued by the Commissioners after the meeting Tuesday said that in
vetting the healthcare plan package, they found that UnitedHealthcare, whose
coverage plan is more traditional than INETICO, would have been a
Approved last week
3-0 was the stop loss insurance plan with Sun Life. The County will also
continue with pharmacy benefits manager Magellan Rx.
Commissioners voted 3-0 to hire RE Sutton as the health insurance servicing
agent following Anton Insurance’s departure.
From the board’s
press release, “The unexpected resignation of Anton Insurance forced the
Commissioners to approach RE Sutton to act as the servicing agent for the
employee health insurance plan. RE Sutton agreed to serve in this capacity
due to the timing constraints and fully understands that this will be a
one-year agreement, to bridge the County to 2018. The change of servicing
agent will further save an additional $150,000 for a plan year.”
Tony Bontrager, a
group service consultant with RE Sutton, said that the per employee per
month fee that his firm will charge is $3.75. The fee before was $12.50 per
employee per month that was split between Anton Insurance and R&R Benefits.
“Our structure as a
bridge moving forward will be heavy on the consultation and analysis side.
Our day-to-day structure might be different than what you have today but we
can do it,” said Bontrager.
Biggs, R-North, asked Bontrager if RE Sutton would be receiving additional
fees from any other companies on the plan. Anton received 20 cents per
prescription from Magellan Rx.
that fee will only be paid by the County and there won’t be any additional
money from other companies.
RE Sutton had been
hired as a consultant by the Board of Commissioners in January for $8,000 to
review the County’s health insurance plan and assist in evaluating other
Good also made the
point that the Commissioners will see that all contracts for health
insurance will no longer have automatic renewals in them. This is so all
aspects of the plan can be reviewed and bid out on a yearly basis “to ensure
the plan costs are as low as possible,” he said.
It is the approach
that the Commissioners wish to take with all their contracts, said Good who
became president of the board in January.
Good said that
after 2017, the County will have two years of quality data under BAS’
management and that would boost its chances for earning more savings in the
year following. The data from the County’s previous third-party
administrator Stewart C. Miller had not been useful, he said, as it lacked
census information providers want to look at. Bontrager said having more
than one year’s data is helpful in searching the market.
underwriters tend to be pretty conservative people. With no data, they are
going to assume the worst-case scenario so you want good data so they can
make accurate projections. Having at least two years would move you
forward,” Bontrager said.
Good thanked his
peers and McClure for their work, saying he’s very pleased with the outcome.
“Our goal was to
get all the players today and keep the insurance going today. I think we can
honestly say to the citizens of Porter County and the employees, that we
have our hands on the steering wheel of the health insurance program in
Porter County, finally,” Good said.
Mike Anton was not
present at the meeting Tuesday but spoke with the Chesterton Tribune
afterwards about the resignation.
Anton said he is
very proud of the work that has been done to reduce costs on the plan since
the Commissioners implemented a reference-based approach with INETICO. “The
plan has been hugely successful,” he said.
It was clear to him
however that the Commissioners wanted to move in a new direction, and if so,
he is “okay with that.”
Anton said he did
question the accuracy of the Commissioners’ claim that switching its
servicing agent would yield a savings of $150,000 for the County. The
difference of the $12.50 fee compared to $3.75 per month per employee would
be about $60,000 with the 545 employees on the plan.
With RE Sutton as a
consultant, Anton said he thinks that more work will be need to be done by
the County’s Human Resources Department.
Anton said he will
miss the opportunity of working with County employees as he and Leigh
Westergren, Benefits Manager with Anton Insurance, have developed personal
relationships with them.
also provided the administrative fee costs for 2016, which Good had asked
Scott for at the previous meeting last week. A total of $142,290 was paid to
BAS and $98,789 to INETICO. For servicing agent premiums, $105,330 was paid
for transplant coverage, $768,884 for stop loss coverage and $30,506 for
aggregate coverage. The grand total in fees was $1.226 million.