School Board Delays Decision On Big-Ticket Health Insurance Item For 1 Week

Thursday, August 21, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

The Hamilton County School Board on Thursday night voted to delay a vote on a new insurance plan for employees until next Thursday.

Sandy Hughes, president of the Hamilton County Education Association, said, "I have a difficult time trying to think of what priority in spending is more important than the well-being of your employees and their children...You've not given us enough amount of time for the employees to even check."

 She asked the board to wait until next week so that employees would have time to see how their plans might change and to give input.

 Board member David Testerman said, "This is something that impacts our employees.They need to understand what's about to take place."

 Board member Rhonda Thurman said she had received many calls asking why the plan had to be changed at all.

 She said, "To do nothing is not an option. We have to do something. We have to do something because the school system cannot afford to keep going down this road. The school system cannot continue to absorb these costs. If we just sit back it will eventually eat up all of our budget."

 She continued, "None of us like doing it, but we're going to have to do it."

Ms. Thurman said the annual health insurance costs were "eating up any growth we get."

Consultant Ed Adams said the increase has been about six percent per year, and may be seven percent or more next year. 

 Board member Dr. Jonathan Welch made a motion to add a Health Savings Account to the third plan option, a high-deductible plan. However, the motion failed.

Option 1:

Increase premium for spouses by $100 - save schools from $2,040,000 to $3,040,000. 

Change BlueCross plan from Network P to Network S (with fewer physicians and hospitals) - save schools $1,334,816. Parkridge and East Ridge Hospitals are not in Network S.

Increase the emergency room co-pay on the HMO plan from $100 to $250

Change pharmacy on BlueCross plan from CVS Caremark to BCBST - save schools $1 million.

Total savings to the county schools would be $4,572,11- to $5,072,110

Officials said potential savings could be higher if high-expenses spouses leave.

Option 2:

Working spouse affidavit (self-employed spouses could stay) - save $924,720-$1,541,200

Increase drug co-pays - save $1,059,430 to $1,588,351

Change BlueCross plan from Network P to Network S (with fewer physicians and hospitals) - save schools $1,334,816. Parkridge and East Ridge Hospitals are not in Network S.

Change HMO emergency room co-pay from $100 to $250 - save schools $197,294

Change pharmacy on BlueCross plan from CVS Caremark to BCBST - save schools $1 million.

Option 3:

Deductible: $2,600 employee only/$5,000 family

Coinsurance: 80 percent in network/60 percent out of network

Annual premium: $600 employee only/$3,600 family

Health Savings Account employer contribution

Assume: $750 employee only/$1,500 family - save schools $2,557,500

Change from Network P to Network S

Pharmacy 20 percent generic/30 percent preferred brand/40 percent non-preferred brand

Must meet deductible first for pharmacy coinsurance

This model is for total replacement of the BlueCross PPO plan

 Chairman Mike Evatt was also honored at the meeting because of his upcoming retirement.

 He told everyone, "Thank you for the honor. It's been a honor and a privilege to serve."


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, MARDARREIUS FOOQUON  707 RICHARDSON ST ROSSVILLE, 30741  Age at Arrest: 20 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County THEFT OF PROPERTY (OVER $1000) --- ATKINS, CHRISTIAN MICHAEL  308 NYE DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 59 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Federal Government Sues Life Care's Forrest Preston, Saying He Received Millions In Medicare Funds He Was Not Entitled To

Federal attorneys have sued Forrest Preston, founder and chairman of Cleveland, Tn.-based Life Care Centers of America, claiming that he was "unjustly enriched" by receiving Medicare funds he was not entitled to receive. The civil suit in Chattanooga Federal Court asks for the return of "millions of dollars." The government earlier sued Life Care on similar charges based on ... (click for more)

Thankful For The Vital Role Teachers Played In My Life

Re: Roy Exum: Teachers Day Tomorrow Roy, I am especially appreciative of your poignant column written in tribute to teachers.  It made me tear up, as I have encountered both as a student and a career educator-- teachers like the second-grade teacher who said, "I wish you were my little girl" and teachers like Mrs. Poindexter.   My teachers have played such a vital ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Bad Ideas Never Work

When the Chattanooga City Council gave Kevin Muhammad, who is purportedly the “leader” of the Nation of Islam’s “Chattanooga chapter” or whatever it is, “the right” to speak for 20 anguished minutes on Monday night, everybody who heard about it could have told our city leaders it was “stinkin’ thinkin’.” My goodness, did you think he was going to read a sweet passage from the ... (click for more)

Mustangs Clip Raiders, 4-3, On Chambers' Clutch RBI Hit In 10th

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Winning two regular season games against Cleveland was no picnic for the Walker Valley Mustangs. Capturing a win-or-go-home District 5-3A tournament showdown with the Blue Raiders was even tougher to nail down for coach Joe Shamblin’s squad. Bunts by Jacob McCall and Hunter Shamblin set the stage for Jacob Chambers’ walk-off RBI single in the 10 th ... (click for more)

East Ridge And CFCA Reach New Contract

The city of East Ridge and the Chattanooga Futbol Club Academy (CFCA) have agreed to a new five-year soccer field-use agreement for five fields at Camp Jordan Park. The agreement allows CFCA to practice at Camp Jordan Park and play games there on fields 1-5. The East Ridge Futbol Club (ERFC) plays recreation soccer on fields 6-8 and often works with CFCA to use field 5 on Saturday ... (click for more)