Friday, May 30, 2014
In the wake of the Georgetown City Council’s reversal of a decision to enroll city employees in the state’s health insurance plan, Georgetown City Councilwoman Carol Jayroe has fired off a letter to Mayor Jack Scoville urging that council members no longer receive insurance benefits for their spouses and children.
Jayroe, who favored moving city employees to the state plan, advocated overall reforms in city health insurance coverage, starting with the coverage provided to council members. “… I would propose that any elected official that is on the current plan not be provided coverage for spouse or family paid by the City. That cost needs to be absorbed by them,” Jayroe said. “This would only be the beginning to try to get our costs in line. I would suggest that this begin immediately.”
Jayroe said a second step would be to “gradually” review dependent coverage for all city employees. “I have never known a ‘business’ to pay for the entire family coverage as we do. We are a business,” she said, noting that the average premium for 176 covered city employees is $9,928 per year.
Records obtained by the Georgetown Times show that monthly health insurance premiums for five members of the city council covered by the city plan range from $341 to $879.
Councilman Rudolph Bradley and Councilman Clarence Smalls are covered as individuals, costing $341 per month, with the city paying $292 and the councilmen paying $49 of the premiums costs. Councilwomen Jayroe and Peggy Wayne have employee and spouse coverage, costing $711 per month, with the city picking up $556 of the premium cost and the councilwomen paying $155.
Councilman Brendon Barber has family coverage costing $878 per month, with the city paying $709 of the monthly premium cost and Barber paying $169. Mayor Scoville and Councilman Ed Kimbrough are not covered under the city’s health insurance plan.
The health insurance plan is likely to be a prime topic at a council special meeting/workshop being held today at 4 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall.
The Georgetown City Council earlier this month reversed a decision to move city employees to the state plan, which would have cost city employees – including council members – another $108 per month for family coverage and an extra $34 per month for individual coverage.
Bradley, who had earlier voted with a 5-2 majority to enroll city employees in the state plan, asked for reconsideration of the vote. He was joined by Smalls, Wayne and Barber, all of whom have coverage under the city plan, in rescinding enrollment in the state plan and keeping city employees under their current Blue Cross Blue Shield policies.
The city is facing a 28 percent increase in Blue Cross Blue Shield premiums that will cost it another $150,000 in its 2014-2015 budget on top of what it has been paying in 2013-2014.
Jayroe, in her letter to Scoville, said the council ignored the advice of insurance experts, Arthur J. Gallagher and Company, who recommended the city move to the state plan and save $467,195 in annual premium costs.
“While I believe that our employees are well-deserved, hard-working individuals, I cannot recommend that the city absorb this cost. The state plan was recommended by an expert company that we PAID to perform this study and now we are just doing what we want, not what is best for our lean budget and the entire city of Georgetown,” Jayroe said.