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Town recommends change for health insurance carrier

Rachel Ravina/Bayside Gazette
Jeff Fleetwood, human resources director for the Town of Berlin, and Chris Carroll, vice president of Deeley Insurance Group, offer recommendation for the town’s coverage to the Mayor and Council during a work session Monday.

By Rachel Ravina, Staff Writer

(April 18, 2019) Town of Berlin employees can expect to see a change in health insurance providers from United Health Care to Carefirst Blue Cross, assuming the mayor and council take the advice of the town’s broker, Deeley Insurance Group.

In addition to reevaluating United Health Care’s terms and costs, town officials also looked at Cigna/LGIT and Carefirst Blue Cross, with the latter recommended by Deeley Insurance Vice President Chris Carroll.

Carroll told the council the plan offers a deductible structure that’s identical to its current one and that, as rates rise across the board, the Carefirst package is 3.82 percent increase above the current cost.

Berlin also has an HRA health insurance plan structure, which funds 100 percent of the deductible exposure and all but $500/$1000 of the co-insurance covered exposure.

Council member Zack Tyndall asked if the HRA would help reduce insurance costs, and Carroll replied that it would.

“With any insurance, the driving factor for insurance is a four-letter word: risk,” said Human Resources Director Jeff Fleetwood.

Fleetwood also recommended staying with Principal as a dental insurance provider and VSP for vision.

There would be a $502 increase for dental, with the current annual cost set at $11,768, and the proposed renewal being $12,270.

Additionally, Fleetwood mentioned a proposed wellness plan, which would allow the employees to set exercise goals with a primary care physician to receive an insurance credit and a stipend for a gym membership of up to $25.

The program, which he said “gives incentive to the employee to get moving [and] get energized,” would cost about $14,000.

“I think it’s a good idea. Is it something that we have to have? The answer is no,” Fleetwood said.

Mayor Gee Williams agreed with the health plan recommendations, but couldn’t give the OK to the proposed wellness program.

“I obviously can’t support adding more adding more cost to the insurance through the wellness program,” Williams said.