Dyer County Insurance Committee chooses to accept Cigna offer

Thursday, February 22, 2024
State Gazette photo/William Northcutt

WILLIAM NORTHCUTT

wnorthcutt@stategazette.com

The Dyer County Insurance committee met with members of White and Associates to hear of an offer by Cigna for group health insurance. Cigna would continue the current coverage for county employees, with a 3% increase in cost that the county would assume if the Budget Committee approves. According to White and Associates, Cigna’s terms are preferable to those of other companies whose offers would be significantly more expensive.

Attending were committee members Chairman John Uitendaal, Jimmy Hester, Terry McCreight, and James T. “Bubba” Cobb. Steve Sartin was unable to attend. Attending Dyer County staff included Financial Director Amy Perkins, Accounts Director Cari Jones, Road Superintendent Jeff Jones, and Administrative Assistant Beverley Ellington. Representing White and Associates Insurance were CEO and founder Larry White, Department Director Sheila Gurien, Sales Manager Amy Ladd, HR CP Ali Seaton, and President Tommy Allmon.

White stated that the Dyer County government was four months away from the renewal date with Cigna. He told the Committee that Cigna’s plans would offer the same coverage with a 3% increase in premiums. He also said that Dyer County has over $200,ooo in their Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) account. He added that renewing now would be cheaper now than if the county waited and significant employee claims were made before the renewal agreement. He reported that other insurance companies would make offers but that the companies would not make offers this soon.

Hester asked what the 3% meant dollar-wise, and White answered, “Approximately $30,000 to the County.”

Gurien presented the Committee with summaries of the past year and of what the new offer would mean to the county and its employees. With HRA reimbursement the total out of pocket max for employees would equal $2,520 and $4,080 for the county—“If claims reach the maximum amount.” She pointed out that monthly premiums for plans insuring just an employee $121.86, employee plus spouse $336.34, with incremental rises according to number of family members, an employee plus spouse and children coming in at $518.70. She also referred to the HRA account and had learned that the account held a healthy $214,353 as of Jan. 31, 2024.

Gurien also noted that the $4,000 Health/Wellness program would continue, as would allocation of $1,000 to employees for Cobra plans.

As of today, she said, 76 individual employees are covered with Cigna, 12 employees plus spouses, 9 employees plus children, and 13 employees plus families. She said that included in each plan is a $4.50 HRA administration fee. Jeff Jones asked, “Has that always been there?” Gurien confirmed. HRA payouts for the last 12 months totaled $147,216.99.

Uitendaal asked for the total amount the County has budgeted was told $200,000.

White continued, saying, “We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. He said that is was “not normal” to get such a good offer. “We couldn’t get better news.” He cautioned that Cigna wants renewal now.

Uitendaal asked whether the figures were firm. Gurien replied that the other plans have significantly higher premium increases. She noted that with “lower [cost] plans” the County would not be allowed by the state to run the HRA program.

Quick asked how the state’s health plan premiums compare to Cigna’s and was told that the amount was small.

Cobb stated that “We won’t get better [offers].”

Uitendaal asked Jeff Jones, “Are your people good with this?” Jones confirmed.

Cobb noted that most employees do not realize how much the company contributes to the health plan, that “We ate $100,000” for two consecutive years.

Uitendaal noted that the premium rise makes it necessary to bring it for the Budget Committee.

Cobb made a motion to accept Cigna’s plan, Hester seconded.

The motion carried unanimously.

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