Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Cookeville Moves From Self-Insured Health Insurance

Cookeville City Council voted Thursday night to move from a self-insured health insurance plan to being insured by an outside vendor.

The plan expected to save the city over $1 million on its next fiscal year spending. Finance Director Brenda Imel said rising medical costs as well as the increasing complexity of the system made the decision the right one.

“We had to raise premiums quite substantially this January and we raised them again last January,” Imel said. “So things are just going in the wrong direction. This way we don’t have to carry stop-loss coverage, that’s a savings right there or an expense we don’t have to pay. And we’re shifting the risk of the claims to Blue Cross Blue Shield.”

Imel said projections showed staying self-insured could cost the city $7.9 million in the new fiscal year. The Blue Cross Blue Shield option included a total price tag of $6.7 million. The city also ran numbers with two other insurance companies.

The employee structure will stay the same with deductibles, using Network S.

“That will have little impact on our employees,” Imel said.

Imel said the city can go back to being self-insured in the future.

“You all put a lot of time and effort into this,” Mayor Laurin Wheaton said. “And being a health care provider, we know health care costs are going up, and you all are doing everything to try to save our employees money and give us the best health insurance that you can.”

In other business, the council voted to reappoint Jim Martin and Cheryl Sandlin for six-year terms on the Cookeville Industrial Development Board. Both  had terms expiring in May.

The second reading of the ordinance change for campgrounds and RV parks receive unanimous approval. Council made changes to the ordinance during its last meeting to further focus on tourism goals of the ordinance.

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