By Hailey Persinger
Killeen Daily Herald
Killeen City Council members are making their way back to the insurance drawing board.
Members decided Tuesday to reconvene with Scott & White Insurance representatives regarding a controversial change to city workers' insurance premiums. A potential 27 percent spike in insurance costs has left some workers to decide between a fatter paycheck and insuring their families.
Though the council voted Aug. 5 to renew the Scott & White plan through the month of October, several council members said a decision to stick with the plan for the next year or take bids from other companies should happen sooner than later. The council formed a committee to explore its insurance options Aug. 5 but Mayor Timothy Hancock said that as the Oct. 31 deadline looms, the committee could be of little help in negotiations with Scott & White or other companies.
"If you think a committee is going to change this now, I wish you luck," he said. "You've got to do something now. The same six that reached an original consensus are here now and that's what you need to do."
With the contract extended under the current rates, the city will pay out $160,000 to cover employees for the 30 days past the original Oct. 1 deadline. Council member Larry Cole said shouldering insurance costs for the month of October while the council waits to make a decision is not a gamble he is willing to take.
"To be safe, we need to accept Scott & White's proposal for a year," he said. "I'm afraid if we do nothing we'll end up with no insurance at all, and I'm just not willing to take that bluff."
Though the city is looking for a way to keep insurance costs at the current rate or find a plan that would push them even lower, Councilman Juan Rivera said finding a less expensive plan may not be a possibility. He said his research into other companies showed similar rates to those proposed by Scott & White, which means council members could be holding out for a better deal that doesn't exist.
"I would hate to see $160,000 spent in one single month going no where," he said.
A date for the city's meeting with Scott & White has not been set.
Contact Hailey Persinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568.