VOL. 129 | NO. 213 | Friday, October 31, 2014
County Commission Approves Health Insurance Changes
By Bill Dries
Shelby County Commissioners approved changes to county government employee health insurance coverage Thursday, Oct. 30, that raises employee premiums by 5 percent and drops working spouses who are offered equivalent coverage of the county’s bronze plan by their employers effective Jan. 1.
The special meeting was set after commissioners delayed votes on the separate parts of the plan at their regular Monday meeting.
In the interim, leaders of unions representing county employees met with the administration of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and had contacted their international and national union leaders about coming up with alternatives.
The union leaders sought another delay of Thursday’s vote to develop the alternatives and commissioner Walter Bailey proposed a one week delay. But the delay was voted down by the commission.
Commissioners voting against the delay cited the start of the county’s annual open enrollment period next week for health insurance coverage as well as open enrollment periods underway at other employers.
Spouses of county employees as well as county employees themselves are making decisions about whether to join those plans or stay on the county plan.
The hike in premiums and dropping working spouses were the measures the administration proposed to meet an unexpected $11 million increase in health care costs for the county from increased claims and healthcare costs.
Commissioners approved an amendment by commissioner Willie Brooks that requires the administration to submit an annual report on health insurance claims, expenses and projections as well as actual figures from the county’s health insurance fund.
The votes on the two resolutions that constitute all of the changes were 9-3 in each case with commissioners Eddie Jones and Terry Roland and chairman Justin Ford voting no.