Cassville accepts health insurance plan

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The city of Cassville renewed its health insurance policy, effective Nov. 1, but not without some controversy.

Shwan Mayr, of Hollister-based Connell Insurance, came to the city with a recommendation for an Anthem insurance plan, and because of changes with the Affordable Care Act, the rates would climb about 25 percent.

Mayr said because the city has under 50 employees, the law allows for it to keep its current insurance plan, so long as there are no changes to benefits. He said the city is compliant with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The plan includes a $2,000 deductible, 100 percent paid after that, and $25 and $50 copays for doctor visits and specialist visits, respectively, among other benefits.

The new, year-long plan will raise rates about 25 percent, but Mayr said that is the city's cheapest option.

Terry Heinz, Cassville alderman, raised the question of the city's bidding process, as he said it did not complete the competitive bid process when looking for an insurance agent.

He also asked why the information could not come sooner, as the timeline for implementing the new plan on Nov. 1 would not allow the city to solicit information from other agents.

"We've excluded every other insurance agent in Cassville," he said. "I just think it should have been put through our competitive bid process."

Mayr, Alderwoman Jan Anthony and Alderwoman Ann Hennigan said the insurance plan options would be the same, no matter the agent, as providers would use the same data to calculate a rate no matter what agent submitted it.

Hennigan motioned to accept the new plan, and she and Anthony voted in favor. Heinz and Alderman Jerry Marple voted against the resolution, leaving Mayor Bill Shiveley to break the tie.

Shiveley sided with Heinz and Marple, bringing things back to square one. After more discussion, officials agreed there is too short a timeline to solicit other bids without lapsing on the current insurance plan, which also expires on Nov. 1.

Hennigan put forth her original motion again, and Heinz amended the resolution to have a request for qualifications put out for other insurance agents.

All four council members voted along the same lines, but Shiveley voted in favor, putting the new insurance into effect.

The city will now begin hosting seminars in coming weeks, as open enrollment will begin this month and first payments taken from city employees' checks in October.

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