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Tama County employees now offered choice in health insurance

March 13, 2019
By John Speer - Editor (jspeer@tamatoledonews.com) , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Tama County employees will have a choice on health care coverage in the coming fiscal year coming July 1. That was the word from Skip Lowe, CEO of Bernie Lowe and Associates, and Jane Underwood, senior account executive, who serves as the county's insurance plan administrator. Their proposal came in a meeting with the board of supervisors on Monday, March 4.

Lowe said the new option which is termed an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) differs from those of the past: the insured now continues to see their preferred medical doctor in 99 percent of cases and all Iowa hospitals are included. But he spoke to reassure employees.

There are two differences from the current plan- it reduces to about one third of chiropractors included for coverage and if a patient wants to go to an out-of-state hospital, they must be referred, Lowe said.

Employees may still opt to stay with the plan they have now have but must pay the policy cost difference.

An employee meeting to review the insurance coverage options will likely be scheduled early in June, Tammy Wise, the county insurance administrator said. At the present time, a total of 122 county employees are enrolled in the plan she said.

Lowe said the county has undergone three years of high claims and the carrier, Wellmark, Inc., has lost money each of the years. He said the county is not at fault, the losses are not the fault of bad decision making, but rather the experience of serious health problems which have been costly.

Projected funding with the new program in place shows a 5.83 percent increase in needed funding or about $239,000 more.

In other business Monday the supervisors:

approved transfer of a total of $220 in donations for the Richard Beecher Memorial to the Conservation Board LAD account. the money is expected to be used a for a memorial to be located at Otter Creek Lake and Park. Beecher was the first chair of the Tama County Conservation Board and long-time member of the board which formed in January, 1959.

approved renewal of the John Ernest Distillery, rural Tama, liquor license.

approved weekly claim bills totaling $77,857.

 
 

 

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