The Cloverdale Town Council held a special meeting on Thursday, Oct. 20. The meeting was set to cover the employee insurance changes that will go into effect after the first of the year.
The town has always paid 99 percent of the insurance premiums, leaving the employee to only pay the last 1 percent. But, in an effort to cut costs they are looking at other options to save money.
"This is something that has been a concern for everybody," said town council president Cathy Tipton. "I think we all know that in today's economy we cannot continue to pay that 99 percent."
One of the options the town is looking into is renewing the IACT Medical Trust, which they now have actual rates for, not estimates. With this renewal, the town would pay $867.07 for the employee, leaving the employee to pay $8.75 per month or $4.37 bi-weekly.
Employee and spousewould receive $843.61 plus the coverage of the employee, leaving the employee to pay $128.55 per month or $64.28 bi-weekly.
Finally, the employee and family would receive $1,457.15 plus the employee coverage leaving the employee to pay $215.67 per month or $107.84 bi-weekly.
"We have to think about also saving money for the town as well," said Tipton. "We don't want to take this away from you."
Another option the town is looking into is Health Savings Accounts (HSA). The HSA would not only have funds from the town put into it but employees could also put their own money into it. Basically, the plan is a high deductible insurance coupled with a savings account.
One of the perks is that if the employee doesn't use the funds they would roll over to the following year.
Thus, it is an incentive for people to save their money and not go to the doctor as much.
"We've been looking at everything," said council vice president Dennis Padgett. "This insurance is one of the highest bills this town pays."
Many employees who showed up to the meeting voiced their concern about the change, especially those who have a family to take care of. Many families favor the IACT renewal over the HSA plan. They also voiced their opinion on not having had a raise in three years.
"HSA is a totally different way to live entirely," said town attorney Alan Yackey. "It's a learning process."
The council has to make its decision by the beginning of December. Thus, it will most likely decide which route to take during November's monthly meeting.
"We're still going to pay a big part," said Tipton. "We're struggling right now."
For now the council will continue to shop around for better alternatives. Board members informed the audience they are open and willing to accept any suggestions or help by the community in trying to find a better alternative to the employee insurance plans.