Daphne puts off action on self-insurance

Council members request more information

By Guy Busby guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 9/15/21

DAPHNE – City Council members said they support a self-insured health insurance plan but stopped short of approving the change at their last meeting.

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Daphne puts off action on self-insurance

Council members request more information

Posted

DAPHNE – City Council members said they support a self-insured health insurance plan but stopped short of approving the change at their last meeting.

A resolution to adopt a self-insurance plan was on the agenda for Tuesday, Sept. 7. When the issue came up, however, no council member moved to consider the proposal and the resolution died.

Mayor Robin LeJeune said the city would save money by going to a self-insured plan. He said Blue Cross Blue Shied premiums increased 11 percent in the last year and are now more than $4 million.

“So, we reached out to try to find some ways to save some money,” LeJeune said. “Looks like our biggest savings could come with a $100,000 deductible, self-insured which in a worst-case scenario could save us about $500,000 and then best-case scenario we would save about $900,000.”

Councilwoman Tommie Conaway said the recommendation to the council included only one report from a consultant.

“I’m in favor of the self-insured health insurance plan,” Conaway said. “My only concern is maybe we need to hear from more consultants. We only heard from one and I’m concerned about maybe having a comparison chart so we can see actually what they are offering there.”

Councilman Steve Olen said the council should have more information before making a final decision.

“I am 100 percent in favor of the city moving to self-funded or self-insured health plan. However, that needs to come only after the city has sought and obtained multiple proposals for how to accomplish this and given itself sufficient time to make a number of important decisions to go along with that,” Olen said. “The city of Daphne and especially its 280-plus employees absolutely deserve our very best consideration and that means multiple proposals.”

LeJeune said he had hoped that the council could have passed the resolution Tuesday to allow the plan to go into effect before the new budget year on Oct. 1. The new plan would not change any employee’s current health insurance benefits, according to the resolution.

Olen said the council could approve the change after Oct. 1. He said he felt more current information is needed, however, before members decide.

He said the most recent claims data given to city officials was from May.

“We thought that was particularly important because the best indication of which way your claims are going is your most recent months,” Olen said. “What I had in mind, at least, was if those months were trending upward in a steep fashion, then, yes, we still want to be self-insured but maybe we don’t make that change right away. We need to see where we are.”

Councilwoman Angie Phillips praised officials’ efforts to cut costs. She said the city should have enough information on which to make a decision in the future.

“I am thrilled with what I am seeing with the progress and the different ways that our staff and our mayor are thinking outside the box and looking at ways that we can approach things, do things differently, do things to the best of our ability and I can’t applaud you guys enough for that,” Phillips said.