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Sycamore OKs health plans for city workers

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Sycamore city officials unanimously approved renewing health insurance coverage with lower premiums for city employees.

Sycamore City Manager Brian Gregory recommended to the City Council on Monday to renew contracts with Blue Cross and MetLife. MetLife offers a package deal for city employees that includes vision, dental and life insurance benefits. 

Premiums for the three health plans, set to begin Sept. 1 for city employees, are set to drop 3.79 percent. The Society for Human Resources Management projects rates for U.S. employers overall will increase 6.3 percent this year.

Gregory said one of the reasons behind the decreased rates is the city receiving 15 health insurance claims between $25,000 and $100,000. 

Because of the Affordable Care Act – which plans to make health insurance more accessible and affordable – will go into effect in January, the city can expect additional administrative fees. The fees are estimated to cost 4 percent of the total premiums. But city officials can expect some savings. 

“When you put everything together it will still equate a slight savings, somewhere around 1 percent for this city,” Gregory said. 

Gregory said the city’s claim history is favorable to insurers, who are having to spend more because of the Affordable Care Act focusing more spending on health care than on administration. 

He also recommended the city continue funding 100 percent of the deductible – or the out-of-pocket cost for health coverage – for the health savings account plan because it’s more economical than the other two plans.

Under that plan, one person would receive $1,500 toward a deductible and a person with a family would receive $3,000 toward a deductible. Gregory said the city could achieve $75,000 in savings with the plan.  

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