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."


Upcoming City Council Agenda For Tuesday

Here is the upcoming City Council agenda for Tuesday: I. Call to Order. II. Pledge of Allegiance/Invocation (Councilman Gilbert). III. Minute Approval. IV. Special Presentation. V. Ordinances – Final Reading: ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT a. An ordinance to amend Chattanooga City Code, Part II, Chapter 26, Section 26-33, Outdoor Fee Changes to ... (click for more)

Terry Lee Says Tony Sanders "Carrying The Water" For Marty Haynes

Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Terry Lee said county GOP Chairman Tony Sanders "carried the water for their dishonest candidate for assessor of property Marty Haynes." Mr. Lee said, "This is not the first time Haynes has hidden behind Sanders; and it likely won’t be the last.   "In trying to focus on what amounts to a clerical error that has already been corrected ... (click for more)

Olympic Events On The Ocoee River Made History – But It Wasn’t Easy

It started with a simple “what if” question while Atlanta officials were working on a bid to host the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.  A group of amateur kayakers from the city began asking themselves: “What if Atlanta’s bid is successful? Then where would the Olympic whitewater canoe and kayak races be held?”  To some of the members of that group, the answer was obvious. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Don’t Kick A Man’s Neck

From the minute my brothers and I each became cognizant, my dad started teaching us the rules of becoming a man. Dad was from deep in Mississippi and he’d been taught a lot of life’s secrets from his father. These lessons have been passed for generations and, the older I have become, I’m convinced a lot of them were borne from The Sermon on the Mount. Our favorite, back in the ... (click for more)

Smokies Nip Lookouts Friday , 7-6, In 11 Innings

The Tennessee Smokies scored a run in the 11th inning to defeat the Chattanooga Lookouts by a score of 7-6 before a nice crowd of 4,150. Felix Jorge was back on the mound, but he was done long before the game was decided as the game went a couple of extra innings. Jorge went the first five innings. He gave up three runs on five hits, a walk and hit a batter. He struck ... (click for more)

Chattanooga FC Hosts NPSL National Semifinal Saturday

All eyes are on Saturday as Chattanooga FC prepares for the NPSL National Championship Semifinal match against Sonoma County Sol at Finley Stadium. In efforts to FILL "FORT" Finley, CFC has extended their discount on $7 tickets until Thursday at 2:00. After 2:00, tickets will be $10 until 6:00 on Saturday, when the price will rise to $12. Tickets are available online at ChattanoogaFC.com.  ... (click for more)