Danedri Thompson
[email protected]
There will be incentives for city employees to take High Deductible Health Plans paired with Health Savings Accounts instead of HMOs or PPOs.
After approving two new agenda items, including creating a committee that will look into taking bids for health insurance next year, and another to allow certain health insurance brokers to present information at an upcoming work session, council members agreed to approve a city employee benefit health plan with Midwest Public Risk (MPR).
Human Resources manager Mary Bush and city finance director Laura Gourley estimate the plan will save the city $7,000 next year even while also providing seed money to jump start employees’ health savings accounts.
Down the road, the pair estimates the change will save the city close to $99,000.
Open enrollment for employee benefits is set to start next week, and city council members were displeased that they were left with few options to consider in such a short time frame.
Specifically, council member Larry Fotovich asked to see bids from private health insurance brokers, because the city has used MPR without taking bids for 20 years.
That may change next year as Fotovich will serve on a committee that will examine health care benefit options for city employees. That committee, formalized by action during a May 9 meeting, will start its work in October. Fotovich voted against the committee’s formation, but agreed to serve on it along with city staff and a few Gardner citizens.
In the meantime, he requested that council hear, as soon as possible, from private insurance brokers at an upcoming work session. That request was also formalized by council action.
Under the proposal adopted at the meeting, the city will pay 100 percent of an employee’s enrollment in an HDHP plan and 80 percent of the plan for family members. Employees will receive $300 up front into their health savings accounts. An additional $25 per month will be added to their accounts provided employees make their own regular contributions to the account and participate in a city wellness plan.
Those employees utilizing a family health care plan will receive $600 up front in their accounts and another $50 per month.
Employees will still have the opportunity to enroll in more traditional plans, but they will be responsible for paying the difference in cost for the more expensive options.
In other business, council members:
• recognized several 5 year city employees and one 35 year employee.
• authorized the purchase of a skid steer loader for $23,350.
• authorized the purchase of a crack sealer applicator for $32,899.
• approved a conditional use permit for a cell tower at 18865 Gardner Road.
A video of the meeting will be available online at http://www.gardnerkansas.gov/council_agenda_minutes_2012/