Remember how Obama-care was supposed to save everyone money? Remember how you were allowed to keep your plan if you were happy? Well, unfortunately those two things are not true and Montgomery County employees are paying the price, literally. Currently the county offers employees medical insurance which includes dental, life insurance, a FLEX account, and an annual medical supplement. If the county could keep their current plan, the premium cost would rise 20%, but the current plan is not compliant with the new health care law. So what do they do? Well, the county manager has looked at other options and decided to discontinue offering health insurance to employees, but they will help employees get insurance through the federal marketplace. Is that really better for the employees? I think not.
Here is more detail from the Montgomery Herald:
Currently it costs the county $6,443.64 per employee each year to provide medical insurance. A breakout of that shows medical is $428.15 per month, dental is $27.79 per month and life insurance is $6.03 per month. It also includes $400 a year in a FLEX account and a $500 annual medical supplement. Those costs are expected to rise to 20 percent on premium increases alone, if the county stays with the current plan. The current plan is not Affordable Care Act compliant, creating additional cost issues. County Manager Matthew Woodard explained the significant premium increase is due to the large loss ratio for the county. Woodard says the county cannot afford any additional increases in costs, noting that currently Montgomery County spends 14 percent of payroll for major medical premiums only. The federal government states premiums should not exceed 9 percent. Woodard said they had looked at numerous options with the medical insurance, including employees absorbing the increased cost and cutting of all but medical and life insurance coverage, but to do that Woodard says would leave money on the table. After extended discussions with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Woodard agrees with their recommendation to discontinue providing medical insurance to employees and to assist employees in pursuing insurance though the Marketplace. This assistance will include navigational, choice information and financial assistance.
Written by Sarah Curry
Sarah Curry is Director of Fiscal Policy Studies at the John Locke Foundation.