• October 31, 2014

Killeen council talks about health plan

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Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2008 12:00 pm | Updated: 11:14 am, Thu Feb 13, 2014.

By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

In a workshop this afternoon, the Killeen City Council will address the city's health plan for employees, which one month ago was the subject of a council discussion that included whispers of a lawsuit against Scott & White Health Plan.

Today's meeting will take place at 4 p.m. in the main conference room of Killeen City Hall.

The City Council on Aug. 5 voiced its displeasure with the tactics used by Scott & White Health Plan and entered into executive session at the close of its workshop.

City Attorney Kathy Davis told the council at the workshop the insurance provider had guaranteed its insurance rate offer to the city, but failed to live up to its legal obligation. Davis gave a lengthy account without looking at her notes, describing for the council a thoroughly documented series of conversations. She spoke of e-mails and faxes, noting the time and date of each interaction between each city employee who took part in the discussion.

Following this meeting, Scott & White Health Plan officials disputed much of Davis' account.

Following the executive session, Davis said she is hopeful the dispute between the city and Scott & White Health Plan will be resolved amicably, but much remains unknown.

"We are considering all options right now," she said after the meeting.

Davis said that the health care provider made the rate increase without allowing the city ample time to respond, made an offer of a guarantee it later said wasn't an offer at all, and finally made the decision using data that is unreliable, namely abnormal spikes in coverage costs.

The whispers of a possible suit against Scott & White Health Plan didn't just come from members of the audience as the council prepared to adjourn to executive session.

"I think what I heard was litigation boiling here," said Councilman Scott Cosper, who peered across the table to each of the council members sitting silently.

Lee B. Green, who works as Scott & White's associate director of sales and marketing, was on hand to address the council. He said they re-evaluated the rate at an 11 percent increase, which still is much lower than if the city bid the service out.

"We're taking a significant loss even at the rate increase we're proposing," Green said. "We saw the loss ratio was skyrocketing, to be quite frank with you."

Green said the three-tiered system they use for rate adjustment would have put the city at a 74 percent increase had they not had any rate guarantee. He said the use of coverage has led to substantial losses, and the insurance industry adjusts the estimates accordingly.

Contact Justin Cox at jcox@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7568.

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