Gage County to stick with self-insurance plan on health coverage

BEATRICE – Gage County Supervisors have renewed the county’s self-insurance health plan, expecting to see savings over going to a full coverage option with no self-insurance.

Brad Swigart of Northwestern Mutual, who consults for the county, says there appears to be considerable savings coming this budget year by renewing.
"Your cost savings this year are probably going to be in the six to seven hundred thousand dollar arena."

Two new aspects of the insurance package include a plan to save money on specialty drugs, and utilizing a Teledoc program, which will cost the county a dollar-75 cents a month per employee.

"The other good thing about self-insuring is you can tweak little things. We had a procedure that we tweaked that had to do with eyecare, to be able to include that as a covered cost....where you can't do that on a fully insured's just exactly boiler-plated."

Swigart said the Teledoc program is valuable especially for young families, who may save the cost of a trip to an emergency room.  The renewal is about a five-percent increase on the county’s fixed insurance costs.  An insurance meeting for county employees is planned for August 19th, with open enrollment beginning August 2nd. The county board approved the plan renewal on a 7-0 vote.

The board also voted Wednesday to terminate a deferred compensation plan being used by only a handful of employees. Supervisors Chairman Erich Tiemann says the change would allow employees more flexibility over what they save for retirement.

"Like a private employer...if you want to put more money into your retirement, you just put more money in . We would get rid of this 457-b and have a new account, a new retirement plan that would allow people who want to save more money, to save more money."

The supervisors approved allowing employees to voluntarily contribute retirement contributions through the Nebraska Public Employees Retirement System.