MFPD eyes slight hike in medical insurance

MFPD could see overall cost of benefits rise by $15,292

By Mike Anthony

The Mehlville Fire Protection District anticipates a roughly 1.8-percent increase in the cost of employee medical-insurance premiums.

Elaine Kilker, an account executive with USI Insurance, presented her company’s recommendations for employee health benefits for 2014 to the district’s Board of Directors at its meeting last week.

Kilker told the board that USI recommends the district retain its current health-insurance carrier, Coventry.

“… Coventry, who is the in-force carrier, initially requested a 6.5-percent increase to the medical premiums … And out of that 6.5 percent, 5 percent of that is the new Affordable Care Act fees,” she said. “So we were able to negotiate the renewal down to (a) 1.8-percent increase, which, in reality, means that you got a negative 3 percent this year.

“So I would recommend that you renew with Conventry. That is keeping the benefits the same and not making any benefit changes.”

As proposed, the district’s medical-insurance premium would increase to $998,366 from the current premium of $980,321. The $18,046 increase totals 1.84 percent over the 2013 premiums.

The Board of Directors voted last year to switch to Coventry from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, after Anthem proposed a 19.5-percent premium increase.

Benefits under the Coventry plan would remain unchanged and include:

• $3,000 deductible for a single individual, or $6,000 for a family.

• $3,500 out-of-pocket for a single individual, or $7,000 for a family.

• 100-percent preventive services.

• A 0-percent deductible for emergency room and urgent care.

• $12, $30 or $55 for prescription drugs — 31 days.

For dental insurance, Kilker told the board USI is recommending the district switch to Aetna from its current carrier, Delta Dental.

“… Delta Dental actually gave a 19.9-percent renewal,” she said. “I tried to negotiate that down, but they were unwilling to negotiate. So my recommendation is that you move to Aetna for your dental, and with that, the savings are approximately 3.7 below your current rates with Delta Dental.”

As proposed, the district’s dental insurance premiums would total $112,841, or $4,371 less than the district’s current premium of $117,212 to Delta Dental.

Under Delta Dental’s renewal proposal, the district’s annual premiums would total $140,535.

The board voted last year to switch to Delta Dental from Humana, which proposed a roughly 11-percent increase in premiums.

For vision insurance, Kilker told the board USI is recommending the district stay with its current carrier, Humana, though the annual premiums will increase by 10.8 percent.

“No other carrier came in competitively,” she said. “So my recommendation would be that you renew with Humana …”

As proposed, Humana’s annual premiums would increase to $16,497 from $14,880.

As proposed, the overall cost of premiums for medical, dental and vision would increase by $15,292 for 2014.

Chief Brian Hendricks asked Kilker if any of the benefits for dental insurance would change if the district switched to Aetna from Delta Dental.

“Everything’s the same,” she replied.

Hendricks said USI’s recommendations would be presented to representatives of Local 2665 of the International Association of Fire Fighters and then brought back to the board.

The Board of Directors could consider USI’s recommendations when it meets at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, in the conference room at the district’s headquarters, 11020 Mueller Road, Green Park.