County expects sizable savings on insurance claims

Published 12:20 am Thursday, December 14, 2017


NATCHEZ — Adams County is on track to come in under budget in employee health insurance claims for the second year in a row, Blue Cross Blue Shield representatives told the county supervisors Tuesday.

Mike Lazarus, District  1 Supervisor, said the county was under budget by approximately $320,000 in 2016 and will likely have a similar total cost this year.

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“We set out around $2 million set out for insurance,” Lazarus said. “So every time we come in under, we’re building up that rainy-day fund.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield representatives said Christmas is often a busy season for insurance agencies, but that Adams County is showing a strong decrease.

“I just wanted to congratulate you on that,” Account Executive Karen Martin said. “You’re better than average in that respect which extremely, extremely good.”

The average claims cost of to the county for each single employee this year is approximately $237 whereas the cost last year was $307.

This decrease, Martin said, is especially impressive considering the number of employees has risen by 10 since November 2016.

Last year, Martin said there were four employees with more than $50,000 in claims each, whereas this year only one employee’s claims reached that number.

“In all categories, your cost has gone down except for prescription, which is normal,” Martin said. “That’s the only category that has seen an increase.”

Supervisor Calvin Butler of District 5 asked if emergency room rates had gone down.

When employees go to the emergency room for the flu or a cold, the county pays much higher claims than if that person had gone to the nurse practitioner.

Martin said she did not have that data readily available, but that the decreasing number of hospitalizations led her to believe employees were seeing the county’s nurse practitioner or family doctors more often.

Raven M. Campbell, who was hired as the county’s nurse practitioner in September, said she sees five to 10 employees a day with various illnesses.

Lazarus said he wanted to give credit to Campbell for her success in drawing in employees.

“When we keep them out of the ER, we’re saving a lot of money, and they’re getting good health care,” Lazarus said. “I just want to say thank you to our nurse practitioner.”