Catoosa County changing up healthcare plan

Catoosa County Human Resources Director Ann Cain explains the county’s switch from United Healthcare to Cigna during the June 4 Board of Commissioner’s meeting. The new self-insured plan could save the county approximately $800,000.

Catoosa County is changing up its health insurance to offer employees more benefits while saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.

During the June 4 Board of Commissioner’s meeting, County Human Resources Director Ann Cain explained a planned change in healthcare providers that will allow the county to be self-insured.

“This change is from United Healthcare to Cigna Insurance. Our group insurance plan with United Healthcare will expire June 30, 2019,” Cain said.

Cain says she and county staff have worked with a benefits broker to propose a renewal plan, which will take effect July 1, 2019.

“The county will move from being a fully-insured plan under United Healthcare to self-insured plan through Cigna for health insurance benefits,” Cain explained.

“This change to a new provider will allow the county to keep the same plan that was designed for our employees. There will be no change to the employee premiums for this health insurance coverage, but the county is expected to save an estimated $800,000 in claims cost in the first year by moving to a self-insured plan.”

The only real change to the health insurance plan will be a reduction in co-pays for the primary care physicians and the specialists. These co-pays will be reduced by $10 each.

Cain stressed that there will be no cost increase at all for employees and that cost for vision will even be slightly lower than it has been in the past.

Per the new plan, employees can also opt to participate in a flex-spending account.

After the new plan was approved, Cain said she’s very happy with the new plan and thinks it will be a great change for employees.

“I am actually extremely proud to present this benefit program to the employees of Catoosa County,” Cain said. “I think it’s a huge benefit. It’s no additional cost and hopefully it will reduce $800,000 off our budget. We also want to develop a good wellness program to go along with it, so that’s what my goal is.”

Commission Chairman Steven Henry admitted that it’s hard to leave a company that the county has built a strong relationship with, but explained that sometimes the deal just isn’t right any longer.

“It’s a big change going from United. That’s 16 years with United Healthcare, but sometimes when you’re with a company so long, they get complacent and they don’t want to take care of you.”

In addition to approval of the new insurance plan, commissioners also elected to set up a new bank account to act as a depository funding account. The account will be established by Cigna in the county’s name and authorizes Cigna to debit the account by the amount equal to the paid claims.

“Basically, they’ll be running the claims through the account,” said county Chief Financial Officer Carol Roberts.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009.

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