The roughly 2,000 employees of the coming Macon-Bibb County consolidated government should know the details of their insurance package by Oct. 16, a consultant from BB&T Insurance Services told Macon City Council members Wednesday.
A recommendation for an insurance provider or plan manager should be ready for the consolidation task force to vote on Aug. 21, after which it would go to current city and county governments, said Jimmy Hinson, BB&T employee benefits vice president.
We are hopeful that yall will support those recommendations on Sept. 3 with a vote, he told members of the councils Employee Development & Compensation Committee.
If the council and Bibb County Commission agree with the choice -- by voting for a contract with the insurance vendor -- details of health, life, vision and other coverage would be spelled out for city and county employees in a series of meetings at City Auditorium on Oct. 15 and 16, Hinson said.
We will hand them out packets at that time to explain the benefits, and enrollment materials, he said. Insurance ID cards would be delivered Dec. 16, and coverage would go into effect when the new government takes over Jan. 1, 2014.
Both the city and county now use self-insurance systems with a hired third-party administrator, instead of buying a full-coverage package from an insurance company. It probably will be cheaper to stick with that system, which also offers more customized coverage; but the current search isnt ruling out any other options, Hinson has told the task force.
A committee from the city, county and BB&T recommended offering three insurance options to employees: an HMO, a point-of-service plan with a $1,000 deductible, and a point-of-service plan with a $500 deductible.
Weve tried to merge the two (existing city and county) plans in a way that nobody lost benefits, Hinson said.
A request for proposals went out June 28 to all insurers in Georgia and was advertised on several websites. Responses to that request will be analyzed by consultants and city-county staff.
Councilman Henry Gibson, a retired Macon police captain who will leave office at the end of the year, said he and others will become eligible for Medicare after retirement. But because it sometimes takes Medicare benefits a while to kick in, he worried there might be a window of no insurance while a new insurance plan is selected.
Macon Human Resources Director Ben Hubbard assured him that wouldnt happen.
Well know who the carrier will be Sept. 4, Hubbard said. That should leave ample time to work out coverage responsibility before the changeover, he said.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.