St. Francois County Auditor Louie Seiberlich provided the county commission a report during its April 2 meeting in which he shared the responses to a survey filled out by county employees about the new health insurance coverage that went into effect at the first of the year.
The commissioners voted in November to change the county health insurance provider to TeamCare, entering into a three-year contract with the company at a reported savings to the county of $500,000 per year compared to the previous insurer.
Because of the change in provider, the lesser cost of coverage for county workers and the multi-year contract, Seiberlich told commissioners he didn’t want to wait until the end of the first year to gauge the reaction of employees to the new health insurance.
“The survey was distributed to officeholders with 51 returned, 16 of them with comments,” he said. “Respondents were asked to rate the medical, vision, dental and prescription plans with a satisfaction response of ‘very,’ ‘slightly’ or not at all.’” According to Seiberlich, 48 of the respondents were “very” satisfied with all the plans, while two replied they were “slightly” satisfied with the overall coverage. One was “slightly” satisfied with the insurance but “very” satisfied with everything else. Two of the respondents replied that they were not happy with the family rates.
Seiberlich read several of the positive comments to the commissioners. They included: “This plan has already saved me and my family a great deal of money”; “Hope we keep this plan”; “I am very happy with our insurance through the union”; and “Very, very good prescription card.”
The few negative responses received on the survey for the most part centered on the quality of customer service provided and the cost of family coverage.
One responder wrote, “Not happy with the price of the family rates … too expensive. Getting pre-qualified for out-patient procedure was ridiculous. Had to call three to four times a week, with each call lasting 45 minutes to an hour.” Another wrote, “It would be nice to see some affordable family options.”
Associate Commissioner Gay Wilkinson said, “Most people aren’t happy with their insurance company’s customer service, no matter who they’re with. There’s nobody to talk to.”
As far as the cost of adding family coverage to the plan, County Clerk Mark Hedrick stressed that the price was not unreasonable.
“When you compare it to other plans, it’s not that bad at all,” he said, noting that if the county had stayed with its previous insurance provider, employees would have paid even more to add family members to the coverage.
Despite that, the commissioners said they would contact the local insurance representative to report the complaints.
“Overall, the employees seem very pleased with the insurance,” Seiberlich said, promising to give another update to commissioners in the future.
Kevin Jenkins is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3614 or email@example.com