County looks at insurance

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 12, 2007

NATCHEZ &045; Faced with rising insurance costs, Adams County officials are shopping around to see whether company can give them &045; and therefore, taxpayers &045; the best rates.

The fixed costs of insurance under Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, which is now in its second year of providing health insurance coverage for the county’s 200-plus employees, has risen from $285,000 to $421,000 in the past year.

County officials have been satisfied with the company’s service, &uot;but costs are rising. We have no other choice&uot; but to shop around, said County Administrator Charlie Brown.

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The county’s current contract with Blue Cross & Blue Shield expires April 1.

County supervisors, who also discussed the issue in their Tuesday meeting, have set a special meeting for 8 a.m. today to further discuss the county’s health insurance options.

Tuesday, insurance representatives said the county can expect its health insurance rates to increase by 18.8 percent.

&uot;What’s hurting you is the handful (of employees) that have catastrophic illnesses,&uot; said Pete Hawkins of Blue Cross & Blue Shield. &uot;You had seven major claimants that accounted for 90 percent (of claims costs).&uot;

The county has looked at proposals from several other insurance companies, the names of which were not available as of press time Wednesday.

The county’s insurance options include going with another company or further changing the terms of its current plan, such as changing the amount of deductibles.