Mehlville fire board OKs employee health benefits

The Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors last week approved employee health benefits for 2009.

The board voted 2-0 — with Treasurer Bonnie Stegman absent — Dec. 1 to approve health, dental and vision insurance premiums totaling roughly $946,271 for next year.

That figure is $17,013 more than 2008’s projected total of $929,258, but $22,557 less than the $968,828 paid in 2007.

For health insurance in 2009, the district will remain with current provider United-Healthcare. As projected, the 2009 premium will be $858,246, up from the estimated 2008 total of $844,756.

For health insurance, the fire district offers a base plan, a buy-up plan and a high-deductible health plan/health savings account, or HDHP/HSA.

But board Chairman Aaron Hilmer said at the Nov. 24 meeting that the board would eliminate the buy-up plan while raising the district’s contribution to the HDHP/HSA plan to $2,000 — a $500 hike over the current contribution of $1,500.

Free health, dental and vision insurance in which the district pays 100 percent of the premium currently is offered to employees.

However, Hilmer also announced Nov. 24 that in an effort to encourage employees to utilize the HDHP/HSA plan, the district would pay 90 percent of employee-only coverage for health insurance.

For the HDHP/HSA, participants have no co-pays whatsoever with a $3,000 individual deductible and a $6,000 family deductible.

For dental insurance, the district will switch from the current provider, Standard Insurance, to the previous provider, Assurant, at a cost of $73,393, up from $69,870 for 2008. Standard had proposed an 18-percent increase while Assurant’s increase was 5 percent.

For vision insurance, the district’s carrier, Vision Service Plan, will remain unchanged at a cost of $14,632.