Macon-Bibb County may reap some major savings in health care for 2019.
The county may see $2 million to $3 million in savings for health care after a committee made its recommendations on who will administrator the insurance plans. The committee was set up this year after the price tag for insurance claims rose $4 million higher in 2017 than the previous year.
The County Commission is set to vote Tuesday on keeping Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia as the main administrator along with Met Life and Standard Insurance Co. also providing other types of coverage.
Committee members felt these health care plans are better for the county while also looking out for employees, said County Commissioner Elaine Lucas, who is a member of the health and pension committee
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“The bottom line came down to which companies could offer us the best rates and had the system in place to give us the best discounts,” she said. “That translated into reasonable premiums for employees and less money that Macon-Bibb government has to pay since we are self-insured.”
County officials will likely err on the side of caution when factoring any insurance savings into future budgets. This year’s budget for health care is $25 million.
Commissioner Virgil Watkins said his preference is for the county’s budget to be based on a three-year trend of health care costs.
“I think the employees will like the three new plans we designed,” said Watkins, another member of the committee. “There’s a bit more variety amongst those plans and allow (some) flexibility.”
The next focus for the committee is pensions, which became one of the focal points during the lengthy budget discussions this summer. The committee is comprised of Macon-Bibb officials and current and former employees.
“The big question is whether those who are presently employed, what their options will be, “ Lucas said. “We’ve got to make those decisions. I don’t think there is any doubt (new employees) will be asked to contribute to their pensions. We don’t know what form their retirement savings will come in.”