This article originally appeared in the Friday Aug. 2, 2019 issue of the Progress Times.
This week the Mission City Council approved proposed revisions to the Health Insurance Benefits Plan for city employees that would save the city approximately $620,000.
On Wed. July 31, 2019, council met for a workshop highlighting the proposed changes before holding a special called meeting in order to authorize the approved revisions. The workshop also contained an overview presentation of how the city would be affected by the recently passed Senate Bill 2.
The city had held a workshop regarding different potential plans a couple of weeks ago; this workshop reviewed the small revisions that city council wanted that would still save the city money.
The option the city decided on will change the deductible (individual $500 to $1,000, family $2,000 to $3,000), out-of-pocket (individual $2,000 to $3,000, family $4,000 to $5,000), changing the coinsurance from an 80/20 percent plan to a 70/30 percent plan, changing the co-pay from $20 to $30 (specialist co-pay $35 to $45) and changes to the Emergency Room co-pay and prescription co-pay.
After asking questions about how these changes would impact employees, they decided to approve the plan because of the city’s financial circumstances. The revisions continued to include the implementation of buy-up plan premiums, revisions to the retiree plan options, drug list options and premiums.
“We will be having two plans: a base plan that will change to option 3 as reviewed, we will have a buy-up plan as reviewed,” Munguia said. “We will change our retiree period from 24 months of city-paid coverage to 12 months of city-paid coverage for those employees retiring with 25 years of service or more.”
“We will change our drug list to the performance drug list, our pharmacy network will change to the advantage and our base plan will remain with no premium as long as our employees have a physical completed within the first six months of the plan,” Munguia added.
Munguia, the representatives from BlueCross BlueShield, city council, mayor, city manager and deputy city managers agreed that they were still offering a competitive plan that would benefit employees as a whole and still give them options. In addition to the revisions, council implemented a preventative measure of asking employees to opt for a physical before a specific due date that would eliminate a monthly premium of $25.
Employees can opt to take the physical within a six-month window and not pay the premium, not take a physical for six months and then pay a $50 premium for six months, or opt out of the physical from the beginning of the year and pay a monthly premium of $25 for 12 months. Council also stated that in the future, they may begin to look at outside insurance funding rather than self-insured.
Following the workshop, council voted to authorize the approval of the Health Insurance Benefits Plan. According to council member Ruben Plata, the total changes would save the city of Mission $620,000.