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City officials plan to switch health care providers

BONNE TERRE – City officials hope to save money on health insurance despite adding another benefit.

During a special session Wednesday afternoon, council members met with Susan Aubuchon and B.J. Weiler of First State Insurance Agency about options for health insurance.

Weiler said if the city and its 31 full-time employees stayed with the same United Health Care (UHC) plan, their monthly premiums would increase from $22,800 to $25,700.

The council decided to proceed with a Blue Cross/Blue Shield proposal which could save a considerable amount of money.

Besides going with the health insurance and life insurance plan, they decided to add dental insurance. The monthly premium for the entire plan was expected to cost about $15,000, about $10,000 less than the plan under UHC that didn’t offer dental.

City Manager Ron Thomure said within a month after doing an employee census, they should find out exactly what the cost of the plan will be. Weiler said the proposal could increase 3 to 7 percent.

The new plan would go into effect in December if approved by the council.

Weiler said that the premiums had been high in past years because there were some employees on the plan who had serious illnesses. They are no longer on the city’s plan.

Under Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the office co-pays and prescription co-pays would be lower. Thomure said they will also end up with a better plan.

Last week, the council approved a $4.4 million budget for the fiscal year, which began Oct. 1. They had expected health insurance to increase about 25 percent.

The new budget already includes a 4 percent cost of living increase in salaries. All departments are expected to remain at their current staffing levels. Several improvements and purchases are planned within the fiscal year.

While sales tax revenue is expected to rise about 3 percent, fuel and maintenance costs for next year are projected to be about 20 percent higher than last year.

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