Houston & Peach

Warner Robins council approves plan to save big on medication

Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms, center, presides over a City Council meeting in this file photo.
Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms, center, presides over a City Council meeting in this file photo. wcrenshaw@macon.com

Warner Robins City Council on Monday approved an increase in what employees pay for health insurance, and in a separate matter changed the way it buys drugs for a guaranteed savings of $833,000 annually.

Starting in January, city employees will pay $1.69 more every two weeks for individual health insurance and $7.69 more every two weeks for family coverage. With the increase, individuals will now pay a total of $20 every two weeks and family coverage will be $40 every two weeks.

“You can’t buy it anywhere for that cheap,” said Councilman Clifford Holmes

Also, the city approved a change in how it buys prescription drugs for employees that is supposed to save $833,000 annually guaranteed.

Scott Parker, of Gallagher Benefit Services, which manages the city’s self-funded health plan, said the savings are a result of changing drug purchases from Blue-Cross Blue Shield to Envision Pharmaceutical Services. The new company, which Parker said provides the same services for many large companies, produces savings through better negotiations on the purchase of drugs.

“Every large company is going to this type of situation,” Parker said.

Employees will still pay the same co-pay for drugs. But one change is that currently employees pay a $1,000 deductible combined annually for medical care and drugs. Under the change, drugs will be separated out so there will be a $500 deductible for each.

Also at the meeting, the council held a first reading on an ordinance to prohibit aggressive panhandling. Mayor Randy Toms said the ordinance is the result of many complaints from citizens. He said people will still be able to panhandle, including holding signs alongside roads, but they can’t engage in such behavior as following people or speaking in an intimidating manner.

Councilman Mike Davis said he did not want to wave the second reading, which would have allowed the council to go ahead and approve it Monday. He thought the council should allow a period of discussion and the others agreed. The ordinance will be voted on at the next council meeting.

Wayne Crenshaw: 478-256-9725, @WayneCrenshaw1