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10-23-13

COUNTY REVIEWS SERVICES
Some employee health
benefit costs drop

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark reporter

In 2014, the cost of some county employee benefits will go down.

Mary Robinson, Platte County director of human resources, said on an annual basis the county reviews the existing insurance agreements and either seeks bids from potential suppliers or directs the county's insurance broker to engage in the process.

Following a recent bid process it was clear that an agreement with CBIZ would result in a $4,000 reduction in the total cost of selected services. The business proposal submitted by CBIZ is for the handling of employee benefits including flexible spending and COBRA administration services.

Following Robinson's recommendation at a meeting on Friday, the Platte County Commission approved a year-long service agreement between the county and CBIZ.

“It is good news to hear that it's decreasing,” said Duane Soper, second district commissioner, who chaired Friday’s meeting in the absence of Jason Brown, presiding commissioner, who was out of town.

On behalf of county employees, the Platte County Commission also entered into an agreement for services such as life insurance policies. Robinson said the renewal agreement is with Prudential, the county’s current provider, and will include insurances for long-term disability, as well as accidental death and dismemberment.

According to Robinson, the renewal rate for 2014 will remain unchanged from the previous year. Based upon current employee enrollment, the annual cost associated with this service agreement is $59,400. The agreement, reviewed by county counselor Bob Shaw, is binding for a two year term.

Additionally, Robinson recommended the renewal of the county's health and dental benefit agreement. Following a competitive bid process conducted by the county's insurance broker, it was determined that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City was the best and lowest bidder.

Robinson said the 2014 renewal rate is less than the current health plan rate, but that reduction was washed out by the new Affordable Care Tax premiums. Therefore, the county estimates it will have a zero percent increase to the cost of health benefits. The overall impact health insurance will have on the budget is estimated at $1.4 million.

In 2014, dental insurance will increase by 9.5 percent and will cost the county an estimated $94,500, said Robinson.