Extra Health Insurance costs to benefit a few?

Did you read the editorial about a “vocal commissioner” trying to change the health insurance for employees that would only benefit 11 people at a cost of $36,000 to the taxpayers?  The editorial implied that the Commissioner and his wife, “who works for 911”, must be part of the 11 that benefited. 


Since the County is in a financial crisis, another $36,000 sounded ridiculous.  We called that “vocal commissioner” (Bob Yarbrough) and asked about the new health insurance plan that only benefits 11 people. He explained that EVERY SINGLE COUNTY EMPLOYEE would benefit.  He said that the $500 deductible would decrease to $250 for EVERY employee of the county.  He guessed that the 11 people that the editorial was talking about were the employees that have more than 1 child covered by county insurance.  Those 11 employees would have their deductible go from $1500 to $750 with the new plan.  He said he felt that a $1500 deductible was much too high for the employees to afford; it was more like a major medical payment.  He also said that every employee would benefit because their co-pay on both prescription drugs and doctor visits would decrease.


We then called the Human Resource Officer, Tammy Fisher, and asked her if what we were told was right.  She said, “Yes, all that was correct.  But the best part was, we had a great insurance rep, Kelly Fox, and he had called Aetna and told them about our financial problems here.”  She told us he had worked it out with Aetna so the lower deductibles would NOT cost the county anything extra.


Some other facts that might interest you.  The County took on a huge burden for employee insurance in 2001 when the past Board of Commissioners came on board.  The County had never paid for family coverage until 2001.  After the vote by those new commissioners (we’re looking for the resolution to see if it was 3-2), the taxpayers started picking up the cost of the health insurance of not only the County employee, but also for half of the family coverage of every county employee.  There was no outcry then!  Mr. Bennett had very high premiums and Mr. Crow wasn’t far behind.  The taxpayers got to pay for all of their insurance (approximately $310/month) and half of their family coverage.  Mr. Hill, Pennamon, and Wyatt only had coverage for themselves. 


So there are the real facts.  The Commissioners voted to lower deductibles and co-pays  for ALL county employees, not just 11 special employees. By the way, we’ve been told the writer of the editorial is Russell Bennett’s mother-in-law.

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