City Commission votes on health plan, awards oil lease, sets date for MDD vote

Joseph Grant
Staff Writer

The City Commission of the City of Sweetwater, Texas, met on Tuesday, August 15, at 9 a.m. in the City Commission Room of the City Hall, 200 E. 4th Street.
The City Commission listened to a presentation on Group Health, Dental and Life Insurance Employee Benefits for Fiscal Year 2017-2018. The discussion is between Blue Cross, TML and First Care. There has been less than a four percent increase regarding healthcare. Medical inflation over the time that the City has had insurance has been eight to ten percent, the City has beaten the averages, by having a self-funded coverage plan.
In a self-funded plan, about twenty percent on average of costs are fixed costs and are typically negotiable and set during the first of the year. Eighty percent of the costs are claims and these are set and are the same. What is different is that each carrier has a negotiated price and these are the discounts. This is the most important part of a self-funded plan; the discounts. Stop loss carrier quotes figure into the premiums. A stop loss ends at midnight when contract ends. All are 24/12 contracts. This covers 24 months of incurred claims paid within 12 months of the contract. Total annual fixed costs are about $439,000. With Blue Cross, they would go up to $488,000, $480,000 with First Care given the first option, $396,000 with the second option and for TML, it would be $405,000. All insurance companies can come up with projected claims costs. If the city stays with self-funded the city would save money in the end. The City then voted to act upon proposals received on August 11 to stay self-funded and stay with Blue Cross.
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