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10-10-2014

Cost of county health
benefits won’t change
HR director’s husband gives
presentation

by Valerie Verkamp
Landmark assistant editor

The employee health and dental provider for county employees will remain Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.

Kevin Robinson, Platte County auditor, presented the agreement to the Platte County Commission Monday. In years past, Mary Robinson, Platte County director of human resources and wife of the county auditor, has made the health insurance presentation to the county commission.

Mary Robinson has recently been charged with felony DWI and is facing possible prison time if convicted. She was in the meeting room during Monday’s session for the first time since her arrest in late June, but did not step to the microphone. She did make a brief remark during the discussion but did so from her chair.

Kevin Robinson, who said he serves on the benefits renewal committee, said Blue Cross and Blue Shield offered the best and lowest bid. The county estimates it will have a zero percent increase in the cost of health benefits for the coming year. This news comes as a surprise to many county officials including Robinson, who previous projected a $200,000 increase in the upcoming cost of the county's health care plan.

The overall impact health insurance coverage will have on the budget is estimated at $1.4 million.

The county reviews the existing insurance agreements on an annual basis and either seeks bids from potential suppliers or directs CBIZ, the county's insurance broker, to engage in the process.

Acting on behalf of the county, CBIZ conducted the competitive bid process. A spokesperson for CBIZ indicated he has seen the cost of health insurance increase at a rate of 6.8 percent.

To adequately estimate the future cost of health insurance, the commission was directed to keep a pulse on the industry trend.

Down the road, the county will continue to explore the possibility of going self-insured. In doing so, a representative of CBIZ said the county could reap a 2 to 3 percent savings in risk charges over an extended period of time.

On the down side, the county would encounter a year-to-year fluctuating cost.

On behalf of county employees, the Platte County Commission also entered into a year-long agreement with Reliance Standard for insurances for long-term disability, as well as accidental death and dismemberment.

Based upon current employee enrollment, the annual cost associated with this service agreement is $52,256. That is down $7,144 from the preceding agreement with Prudential.

MARY ROBINSON