LAMPASAS — County officials hope to save money by seeking lower employee health insurance costs for the next fiscal year.
Dorothy Person, human resources director, made a presentation recently to county commissioners about the substantial drop in employee health insurance claims this year.
“We would hope our renewal costs for health insurance should be lower,” Person said. “The numbers result in a 56 percent decrease in costs compared to the premiums we paid last year.”
About 113 employees and their dependents take advantage of Lampasas’ Scott & White health insurance benefits. The county’s monthly premium costs are approximately $50,000, with about $8,000 of that made by employee contributions.
“We had several years of high usage, and we changed our health insurance plan the last two years to accommodate that usage,” Person said. “We’re looking at this now, for budget reasons, before the next plan year begins Oct. 1.”
One reason Person believes claims have decreased is because more people are more proactive in maintaining good health and taking preventive measures.
“Health insurance claims change rapidly, and they’re difficult to predict,” she said. “Increases in preventive care, such as annual physicals, regular mammograms and health care tests and screenings, are on the rise,” Person said. “If we use preventive care, we should catch a lot of health care concerns before they become major health issues.”
Commissioners approved using a health insurance broker to seek competitive bids.
“We have used brokers in the past to negotiate, and they bring industry knowledge into the process,” said county auditor Chris Munn. “They have the best understanding of the health care insurance business and can compare and negotiate with the carriers to make sure we’re getting a apples to apples comparison. They also keep up with all the changes in laws pertaining to health care, which is extremely beneficial.”