Council Awards Insurance Contracts

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Insurance coverage is a costly issue for most people these days. The town of Payson is no different.

The cost of the town's insurance for its employees is going to increase about $165,000 for the 2002-2003 fiscal year.

The town council approved awarding new contracts for its various insurance coverages at a special meeting May 28.

Interim Town Manager Kelly Udall recommended town staff investigate creating self-funded insurance to keep escalating costs down. He said there were a lot of problems involved in joining a larger group to cut insurance costs.

This year, the town had limited options for medical coverage. Only three companies submitted bids: Blue Cross/Blue Shield, CIGNA and Health Net.

Coverage is currently with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and its bid for the new fiscal year was accepted, though it will result in a 17-percent cost increase.

A contract with CIGNA could have saved money, but it would force most employees to change physicians. Health Net coverage would have required out-of-network care as it has no local physicians in its network of providers.

Two bids were received for dental insurance. One came from the current carrier, Delta Dental Plan of Arizona, it included an 18-percent increase. CIGNA Dental also made a bid, but it has no local HMO participating dentists.

The contract was awarded to Delta Dental.

The town's existing vision insurance carrier, VSP, was asking for a 26-percent increase for a total additional cost of $5,697. Another company, Avesis Incorporated, made a lower bid and included an expanded list of providers, three instead of VSP's one, and better benefits. It also offered a two-year rate lock.

The council accepted the staff's recommendation to change vision insurance, and awarded the contract to Avesis.

The town is currently in a two-year rate lock agreement with Jefferson Pilot for long-term disability insurance, and Medical Life Insurance for group life insurance. With no changes in rates or benefits, the council approved continuing the town's contracts with these two companies.

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