Monday, May 12, 2014
Georgetown city employees may be seeing a change in their health insurance plans in July.
At a special meeting and budget workshop Tuesday evening, the Georgetown City Council heard the city’s insurance consultant recommend a move to the state’s health plan for its employees.
Rick Gantt of Arthur Gallagher & Co. told the council his company’s job was to study the insurance markets to determine the best position for group benefits as of the July 2014 renewal. “You have pros and cons with the state health plan, but I think the pros outweigh the cons,” Gantt said as he walked the council through his report.
Gantt explained that moving to the state health plan would save the city approximately $345,000 for the 2014-2015 plan year.
“Who is it that we are talking about when we say cost savings?” asked Councilman Rudolph Bradley. Gantt responded, “The good news is that we found a plan, the bad news is what to do with the employee deduction.”
Gantt explained that if the city decided to go with the state plan, the employees “must pay the same payroll deductions as everyone else.” City employees currently pay $49.05 for individual coverage and $169.22 for family coverage monthly. State employees pay $97.68 for individual coverage, and $306.56 for family coverage.
Questioning the equity of the proposed state plan, Councilman Brendon Barbour asked, “How does this impact our lower-paid employees?” Gantt’s proposal sought to soften the impact of a premium increase with a $500 credit to insured employees at a cost to the city of $90,000.
After listening to the council’s concerns regarding employee deductions, Mayor Jack Scoville said, “Look, we don’t know exactly who this will affect and how it will affect them.” He asked that Finance Director Debra Bivens and City Administrator Chris Carter “research this and let us know exactly.” The mayor added, “It seems to me that it is the consensus of the council that we need to explore the state plan, and the impact it will have on wages.”
On another matter, the Council approved the release of some of the documents requested by businessman Steve Rothrock, under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents relate to Rothrock’s previous litigation against the city. Earlier, Councilwoman Peggy Wayne moved to waive attorney-client privilege relating to the Rothrock litigation and release “all material previously withheld as a result of Freedom of Information Act requests.” Wayne’s motion failed on a 3-3 vote, with Councilman Clarence Smalls abstaining.