By BRADEN LAMMERS
Health insurance is an issue that will be weighing on individuals and small businesses entering the new year.
Questions are swirling about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on the health insurance business and the problems that have persisted with the plan’s implementation and websites. Some of those questions came before the Sellersburg Town Council Monday night as the city employees’ health insurance was up for renewal.
Two agents that presented multiple plans were Joe Olson, the town’s current agent of record, and Gary Henriott, benefits consultant with Indiana Cities and Towns (IACT) Medical Trust. Both agents said that the sooner a decision is made and a plan is implemented the better it is for the town employees.
Olson described that the renewal plan he was offering, most similar to the town’s current health insurance plan, through Humana would cost an individual employee about $428 per month and carry an individual deductible of $2,000. Overall, the plan was a 22 percent decrease compared to the plan the town used last year and is a one-year renewal. Along with the renewal with Olson, the town requested that an independent benefit manager take over the handling of the town’s claims.
The medical trust plan that Henriott offered is a self-insured medical insurance pool for cities and towns. However, Henriott explained that the trust requires a three-year contract in order to allow those in the pool to benefit from the plan. Costs overall were about 2 percent higher for the town than the Humana insurance plan, but would offer a lower possible out-of-pocket maximum to town employees, Henriott said.
But again, the unanswered questions surrounding the Affordable Care Act — President Obama’s health care reform legislation — and its potential impact on the town’s health insurance costs were the main concern for many of the council members.
Olson said, on average, the Humana plans have increased year-to-year at about a 3 percent rate.
Town Council President Paul Rhodes said he doesn’t believe past increases can be used as a barometer looking forward.
“I think all that’s water under the bridge,” he said. “I think the Affordable Care Act is changing all that.”
Henriott agreed and said he does not know what might be the impact of the health care reform.
“Sellersburg is going to be impacted by what’s going on, there’s just no way [around] that,” he said. “It may not be this year. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be this year,” he said, pointing to the lower premium offered by Olson and Humana.
Henriott added that buying into the trust option is a plan that includes health savings accounts and could pay off for the employees in the long-run.
“This is a long-term decision, this is not a one-year decision,” he said.
The savings going into next year was too much for the council to ignore.
Councilman Terry Langford said the savings in the insurance renewal with Olson would more than offset the costs required in hiring a health benefit management system. A motion was made by Town Councilman James LaMaster to continue with the Humana-based plan. The motion was approved 4-1 with Rhodes voting against.
The town council agreed to renew all of the appointments for the Sellersburg Redevelopment Commission.
Members include Ken Alexander, Mary Lynne Bailey, Doug Coffman — a non-voting appointment from the school board — Mike Hostetler, Brent Densford and John McDill.
In addition to the reappointments that were approved, the council agreed to name the new entrance to Camp Run Commons, as Camp Run Parkway.
So you know:
December’s meeting for the Sellersburg Town Council has been rescheduled
The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16, in Sellersburg Town Hall 316 E. Utica St.
It will be the only meeting held in December