MFPD insurance costs less than anticipated

Board OKs HSA contribution not to exceed $500 for 2014

By Mike Anthony

The cost of 2014 health benefits for Mehlville Fire Protection District employees will increase by $13,035 — roughly $2,250 less than originally anticipated.

The Board of Directors voted 2-0 last week to approve employee health benefits for 2014. Board Chairman Aaron Hilmer was absent from the Nov. 13 meeting.

Elaine Kilker, an account executive with USI Insurance, presented her company’s recommendations for employee health benefits for 2014 to the Board of Directors at its Oct. 30 meeting.

At that time, the cost of health benefits was anticipated to increase by $15,292.

However, Chief Brian Hendricks told the board that the cost of the dental insurance premium had decreased since the board’s Oct. 30 meeting.

“… Since we last met, there has been a slight change,” he said. “USI Insurance has notified us that the dental rates have been reduced by an additional 2 percent by Aetna.

“So that brings the total health insurance renewal for 2014 to a $13,035 increase.”

Hendricks told board members that he met with representatives of Local 2665 of the International Association of Fire Fighters to discuss the 2014 insurance coverage and “there was no objection.”

For 2014, the district retained its current health-insurance carrier, Coventry.

The district’s medical-insurance premium increased to $998,366 from the current premium of $980,321.

The $18,045 increase totals 1.84 percent over the the 2013 premium.

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 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, the district switched to Aetna Dental from Delta Dental, which proposed a 19.9-percent rate increase.

The district’s dental insurance premium will total $110,584 — $6,628 less or a 5.73-percent decrease — than the current premium of $117,212 to Delta Dental.

Under Delta Dental’s renewal proposal, the premium would have been $140,535.

For vision insurance, USI recommended the fire district stay with its current carrier, Humana, though the annual premium will increase by 10.8 percent, or $1,617. For 2014, the district will pay $16,497 for vision insurance, compared to $14,880 this year.

In a related matter, Hendricks recommended the district provide a health savings account, or HSA, contribution not to exceed $500 per employee, pending final approval of the district’s 2014 budget.

“… I would also like to make a recommendation that the board approve the HSA contributions not to exceed $500, and when I say not to exceed, we are still waiting for one line item on the budget to be filled and that is the (workers’) compensation premium,” he said. “We still don’t have those numbers to plug into the budget. We don’t anticipate anything earth-shattering.

“That’s why I said up to $500, not to exceed, so we can certainly adjust that figure when we receive the numbers to be put into the budget. The budget will go to the board in December for final approval …”

Board Treasurer Bonnie Stegman and board Secretary Ed Ryan voted to approve Hendricks’ recommendation.