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Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
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July 3, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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July 3, 1997
 

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| t County Manager just says it isn't so On June 26, 1997 Nye County Manager Les Bradshaw sent a "notice of changes to employee health insurance plan and premiums" to all Nye County employees, their representatives and supervisors. Bradshaw's memo states that the Nye County group insur- ance plan ran $1.1 million over budget during the plan year which ended January 31, 1997. The memo further states that in the fall of 1996, Nye County hired a firm identified as Sedgwick Noble Lowndes to analyze the plan and determine the source of the problems. After complet- ing its review, THIS MAN'S ()IqNION Bradshaw states, LowndesSedgwiCknotedN°blein by Brent Mathewson :....e:i ii: " late 1996, that the plan's financial difficulties were not the result of catastrophic losses but, rather, were the result of the soaring number of total claims presented for payment. This information caught my immediate interest since I distinctly remember, and the official verbatim minutes will back me up, that on Jan. 7, 1997, at the first meeting of the Nye County Commission of the present year, Bradshaw informed the commission that an immediate infusion of $250,000 was needed to keep the employee group health insurance policy afloat. The pot was empty. The fund was running a million dollars over budget. The reason for this was because of com- pletely unexpected and unpredictable catastrophic claim against the fund. The commission, to a man, seemed to sit in stunned silence upon hearing this undigestible news. Bradshaw introduced a representative of a firm the county had hired to research the problem. The man that was introduced backed up Bradshaw's claim of catastrophic losses that the county's health insurance plan had been hit with. He stated that, by their very nature catastrophic losses were completely unpredictable, and that in choosing to 0me se!f- insured the county had gambled, rolled the dice and lost. He also stated that in his 30 years of experience in the health insurance field he had never seen or heard of anything that would approach the county's present predicament, I remember thinking - as the commissioners, Nye County staff, the hired experts, in turn expressed complete bewilder- ment about how such a state of affairs could have come about - that it didn't seem like such a great mystery to me. Months prior to this meeting information had begun to surface thatthe bills for the psychiatric help need  assist the alleg Victims and family members in the Bill  cases- -- reputedly the worst case of sexual harassment in the history of the State of Nevada --- would be more than $1 million. .The Nye County Commission's temporary action to solve the problem at the Jan. 7, 1996, meeting was to vote to expend $250,000 of Payment Equal To Taxes (PETT) fund money to fill the gap in the county's employee group health insurance account. The commission was fully informed on this date that the cost of providing health insurance to the county employees was about to go through the roof and that the county was essentially uninsurable by an outside agency as far as health insurance was concerned. On the advice given by Sedgwick Noble Lowndes, the county has implemented a new plan that will curb the spiraling costs of the claims, according to Bradshaw's memo. The new plan will supposedly save the county a lot of money. The new plan to save all this money will necessitate a 17 percent increase in the amount of the premiums currently paid. The current amount paid reflects a 60 percent increase over the amount being paid at the first of this year. The two increases com- pounded together amount to an 77 percent increase over the rates being paid Jan. 1,1997. The county's plan to save a bunch of money in spite of these increases is simple, straightforward and foolproof. The county will pay less of the total cost of the plan, 58 percent instead of the present 70.5 percent and the employees will pay more, 41.7 percent instead of the present 29.5 percent. It's a mathematically ingenious plan to save money. At least on the part of the county. It's also a pretty good plan for the insurance company involved. It's a no risk policy on their part. It works pretty simple. If the claims submitted against the plan exceed the amount of the premiums paid into it the county guarantees to make up the difference. What a deal... The county has hired Hometown Health Partners (HHP), aka Hometown Health Partnership Benefit Administrators, to 727-1807 Is6x w, wua.. Pahrump, NV ,Free PicN t Ddiv.T • Discounts Available Hours: Mon-Fri - 8a.m. -5p.m. administer the plan. They are listed in the white pages of the Reno phone book, with no address given, and have the exact same phone as Hometown Health Plan and Hometown Health Providers Insurance Company. The latter two companies also list no physical address, although they are listed in the yellow pages under "insurance" - small type, single line entry, no address given. I don't know. It just makes a person wonder. One of the members of the Amargosa Town Advisory Board was wondering a short while ago if there might be cheaper health insurance policies available to the town and its employees that offered equal or better benefits than the county plan. Anticipating that the cost to the town and its employees was about to skyrocket - research was conducted with interesting results. Some of the better health insurance poli- cies found available are equal in some ways and superior in most ways to what is offered by the county. The Sierra premium, which is offered by Health Plan of Nevada Inc. is an excellent example. The following information was compiled as a result of the inquiry. The employees identified as A, B, and C are real people and comprise the total workforce of the town of Amargosa that is presently offered medical insurance. The savings that could be generated by switching to this medical insurance policy would be, on average, about $1,850 per employee per year. Employee A is approximately 55 years old with a spouse. Employee B is approximately 35 years old with a spouse and two children. Employee C is approximately 25 years old with one child. Premiums Co. Current Emp. Current Total Curr. policy Emp. A $ 331.41 $ 100.00 $ 431.41 Emp. B 331.41 217.25 548.66 Emp. C 331.41  Total $ 994.23 $ 417.25 $ 1,411.48 Co. Prop. Emp. Prop Tot. Prop Pol. Emp. A $ 319.91 $ 194.27 $ 514.18 Emp. B 319.91 322.39 642.30 Emp. C 319.91  489.54 $ 959.73 $ 686.29 $ 1,646.02 County currently pays 100 percent of single employee with no dependents. County currently pays 70.5 percent of the total combined medical insurance costs of employees A, B, and C. Currently employees A, B, and C pay 29.5 percent of the total combined costs of their medical policies. The county's proposed policy would pay 100 percent of a county employees medical insurance policy who is single with no dependents, this amount equaling $319.81. Under the pro- posed county policy the county would pay 58.3 percent of the total combined expense of the medical insurance for employees A, B, and C and these employees would be expected to pick up the remaining 41.7 percent of the expense. Sierra Prems Town Employee Total Sierra Pol. Emp. A $ 261.37 $ 87.13 $ 348.50 Emp. B 331.07 156.83 487.90 Emp. C 261.37 87.13 $ 853.81 $ 331.09 $ 1,184.90 The Sierra premiums shown above reflect the costs associated if the town were to pay 100 percent of its employees medical benefits and 50 percent of the cost of the employee's dependents medical benefits. Many variations of the splitting up of these costs are allowed - total cost of the premium would remain the same. The total cost to the town if it were to pay 100 percent of the medical premium of a single employee with no dependents would be $174.25. I believe that all town governments in Nye County would be well advised to look into the available options to the county's employee group medical insurance coverage and to act accord- ingly. This is this man's opinion. eotryright 1997 by Brent Mathewson. State Farm Sells Life Insurance. JEFF BANSER Off751-1515 Fax 751-1616 I.'11 S. tlxxy 160 tJonmm:oC, m.pmy Rcs 751-2474 lahrump VallyGazette,-Thursday July.,3, 1997,t5 Thermax Clean Care Center Specializing in Steam Cleaning Home * Business * Auto * RV ~ Equipment, Sales and Rentals ~ Rent the world's best Steam Cleaner (702) 727-1339 $8 for 24 hours 1200 N. Leslie St. -FREE- 10x12 Room Pahrump, NV 89041 Cleaned if mention this ad Valley cmmea00.0000o00 ..P¢I Computer . .Toshiba S00tms [t 3361 ShadowMnt St. Pahmw, HV. 89048 702-751-1022 Gift cWorks 727-1655 Crafts from l00agraving while you Wait! 140 E. Nicholas Way Mon- Fri 10 - 4 Sat- 11 - 4 the q, te.avt I wu.soN ! 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