Chesterton Tribune

 

 

County insurance plan reducing costs as claims hold steady

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

The Porter County Commission-ers’ decision last month to adopt a reference-based reimbursement option for its self-funded employee health insurance plan has already saved more than $1.4 million, it was reported, as the board Tuesday voted to renew its reinsurance and workman’s compensation policies.

Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, said the savings come from the “insurance underwriters taking of notice of the board’s efforts to take better control” of the plan and the strategy will be continued.

“I think that speaks volumes,” he said.

Third Party Administrator Stewart Miller gave the Commissioners figures on the soon to be completed 12-month claims cycle, which ends March 31. In the past 11 months, the county’s total claims have reached $9,961,228, roughly the same reported a year ago, and it may reach $10.7 million like last year.

Miller said the plan has experienced an average monthly of claim cost per employee of $1,521, compared to $1,517 in the 2013-14 plan. Administrative costs for employees this cycle are $130.55 on average.

The total number of claims for the current cycle is 19,436, which is almost 800 more than were reported last year. A little more than half of those claims were submitted for employees and the rest were for spouses and dependents.

In claims paid, more than half were hospital related, split evenly with 26 percent for inpatient care and 26 percent for outpatient care, Miller said.

For the reinsurance, the Commissioners voted 3-0 to accept a plan recommended by representatives of R and R Benefits, who were introduced by Mike Anton as part of the County’s “employee benefits team,” for an aggregate specific stop loss with transplant protection, providing a savings for transplant operations such as a kidney or lung.

While discussing the reinvestment plan option, Troy Scott of R and R Benefits said there were a number of denials this cycle, which is “not uncommon when you go off-market but it is indicative of an unhealthy group.” Ailments related to high body mass indexes and diabetes have required the organ transplants, he said.

Sitting in on the discussion, the Commissioner’s insurance plan consultant Stephen Brady of Heritage Advisory Group, said the firm overseeing the County’s new reference based reimbursement plan, INETICO, specializes in disease management, preventive treatment, and overall health improvement.

“It is the most vital component of the whole plan,” Brady told the Commissioners.

As part of the education, Evans said the Commissioners will hold meetings with individual county departments beginning this next month.

Employees will also receive their new insurance ID cards in the next two weeks, said Leigh Westergren, employee benefits specialist with Anton Insurance.

Certified risk manager Jim Anton with Anton Insurance presented the proposed amounts for the workman’s compensation renewal. The overall premium rate is rising 7 percent. That is based on the experience of claims for injuries on the job which has increased, he said.

The Commissioners approved a quote for the proposed 2015-16 premium at $601,689. The quote for the current cycle was approved at $562,713.

 

Posted 3/18/2015

 
 
 
 

 

 

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