Beaufort County grapples with rising well being insurance coverage charges

Beaufort County is facing practically $ 2 million in further wellness care fees following year and may switch insurance providers to lessen the blow.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina offers principal health coverage to more than one,100 county workers.

Due to the fact of changes in the insurance coverage market with the rollout of the federal Reasonably priced Care Act, expenses are anticipated to rise from about $ 8.8 million this 12 months to more than $ twelve.5 million subsequent yr with Blue Cross Blue Shield, county administrator Gary Kubic stated.

The county is contemplating a switch to Cigna to lessen individuals costs, Kubic mentioned.

Costs for Cigna plans also are increasing, but not as a lot, in accordance to county well being insurance consultant Carla Hartsoe, who presented the plans to County Council’;s Finance Committee on March 27.

Cigna ideas would price about $ 12.3 million every year, she explained.

The Cigna basic and premium offerings would almost mirror Blue Cross Blue Shield benefits and costs, Hartsoe additional. Moreover, nearly all of the 68 companies in Blue Cross Blue Shield’;s ne2rk are in Cigna’;s ne2rk, in accordance to county director of worker providers Suzanne Gregory. Only Naval Hospital Beaufort and Decide on Laboratories offices, which procedure specific healthcare tests for some rural practices, are considered out-of-ne2rk underneath Cigna, Hartsoe mentioned.

The principal big difference would be that out-of-pocket charges with Blue Cross Blue Shield would rise since the business is attempting to offset a rule in the Affordable Care Act that says deductibles and copayments count towards the policyholder’;s greatest out-of-pocket expenses, Hartsoe mentioned.

Cigna has not modified its maximum out-of-pocket expenses, so personnel will save cash when they make claims, she explained.

Nonetheless, there are lingering inquiries about Cigna’;s buyer services, council members Laura Von Harten and Steve Fobes mentioned.

“My experience with Cigna was abhorrent,” Fobes explained. He mentioned that in 2012 and 2013, he had issues making use of his Cigna insurance to shell out healthcare payments incurred while he was living in Colorado.

“I’;m concerned with what I’;ve heard about customer services and patient satisfaction,” Von Harten explained. “Occasionally the most affordable choice is not always the best option.”

But all insurance coverage companies are challenging to deal with, so anecdotes ought to not be a deal breaker, Kubic and Councilman Rick Caporale explained.

The total County Council will think about the switch April 14. If authorized, the county would have an enrollment period in Could, and the new programs would consider result in July, Kubic said.

Stick to reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

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