Insurance open enrollment ended Friday for the nearly 2,000 city and county workers who will soon be employees of the Macon-Bibb County consolidated government.
Since Nov. 4, workers could stop by tables set up in City Auditorium for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the provider for basic health and vision coverage; The Hartford for group life insurance; Ameritas for dental coverage; and The Standard for long-term disability.
City landfill workers Charisse Parker and Kimberly Mims sat down to fill out their paperwork Thursday.
Weve been here all of 20 minutes, I guess, and were about done, said Parker, a landfill weighmaster.
Everythings been good so far, said Mims, a landfill attendant. Parker kept coverage similar to what she now has, while Mims opted to add more life insurance and long-term disability.
Ive seen some perks and pluses for us from this deal, Parker said.
County workers already are covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield, while Macons self-insurance system is administered by Coventry Health Care; so the transition to new insurance will be a bigger change for city workers, city Human Resources Director Ben Hubbard said.
In general, according to consultants reports, county workers are likely to pay a little more for the new insurance while city workers will pay less than they do now. Part of the savings for Macon employees comes from discounts for wellness programs and abstaining from tobacco, which until now have only been available to Bibb County employees.
Debbie Pope, service account representative for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, said city employees didnt have many issues with the transition from Coventry to Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Most people have moved over very easily, she said.
Active city and county employees, their families, and retirees up to age 65 are eligible for the new insurance, Hubbard said. Those over age 65 shift to Medicare.
All employees got details of the plans and premiums at earlier information sessions, said Bel Wall, the countys interim Human Resources director.
Hubbard said employees should have their new insurance cards by mid-December, with coverage starting Jan. 1 as the old plans end.
Unconnected with the change to a consolidated government, city and county workers who were hired after May 2011 will no longer be provided life insurance after retirement, so human-resource staff want to alert people to the need for voluntary life-insurance coverage, Hubbard said.
Macon-Bibb County Firefighter Travis Smith said he had no trouble Wednesday making slight adjustments in coverage for himself and his wife. His premium will be a little higher, but thats offset by cheaper emergency-room visits and lower co-pays, he said.
Otherwise, there was no major change, and the setup at the auditorium made it easy, Smith said.
Everyone greeted you with a smile, he said. Everyones very informational. They had booklets and pamphlets ready for you to look through. All the providers are here and ready to sign you up.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.