Town reviews employee healthcare plans

STRASBURG – The Strasburg Finance Committee met Monday to review the town’s health insurance plan for its employees and to determine if any coverage changes are needed.

As it stands, the town currently covers health insurance in part for its 58 eligible employees.

According to Committee Chairman Don Le Vine, the point of the exercise was not to change the town’s provider or plans offered, but to figure out if any changes are needed.

“Could we get better coverage for the same price? That’s the question here,” Le Vine said.

The town currently offers Local Choice coverage for its employees, which is a municipal insurance program created by the Virginia General Assembly.

Upon reviewing the coverage under Local Choice, employees hired after July 1, 2013 pay $26 for the program’s premier Key Advantage 250 coverage and $23 for the Key Advantage 1000 program.

However, those figures bump up to $354 and $267 for dual coverage (employee and spouse) and $689 and $561 for family coverage.

Those figures cover medical, behavioral health, prescription, dental and vision.

The town is set to spend $462,000 over the fiscal year on its employees’ plans. Town Manager Ryan Spitzer said the money is used as an investment for the town to maintain employee talent.

Under this system, the town pays 80 percent of the average single employee premium rate and 20 percent of the average additional dependent cost. However, if 75 percent of eligible employees enroll, the dependent contribution from the town is waived.

At the meeting, Councilman Scott Terndrup raised two concerns under the current plan. For one, he said if a married couple works for the town, they are incentivized to both enroll in individual plans with the town instead of a dual plan.

Likewise, he said more information is needed regarding which insurance would be an employee’s primary if he or she is covered by both the town’s and the spouse’s insurance.

Despite the fiscal review, Le Vine clarified the town is not requesting proposals from other providers or shopping around for new programs, only making sure the plan is up to snub with the town’s needs.

Looking forward, Spitzer said he will put together all requested information from the town’s insurance agent for a more informed discussion and the possibility of requesting quotes from new providers at the Committee’s next meeting.

Contact staff writer Jake Zuckerman at 540-465-5137 ext. 152, or jzuckerman@nvdaily.com.