New city health insurance eliminates covered spouses

By Frank Lewis

November 27, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

From March 2012 to April 2013, the total cost for just the spousal claims within the structure of the city employees’ health insurance plan, was $1.3 million, which represents 37 percent of the whole premium cost for the city. Now, Mayor David Malone say the city is going to implement a new system to attempt to drive those numbers down.

Malone said he has been working with Portsmouth Insurance to try to bring down the cost increase in the city’s health insurance, and now, the increase is expected to be 13.7 percent, drastically lower than the originally projected 43.2 percent. He said one of the ways the city will make that happen is with a new policy regarding spouses of city employees.

“We have been involved with the unions, the department heads and the employees, looking at options and ideas to even put the city in a better position as far as the health insurance concern, and trying to decrease the premiums,” Malone said. “So one of the things we considered as an option was to put in place a Spousal Eligibility for our insurance coverage, and this would eliminate any employee’s spouse who are employed and have insurance with their employer.”

Malone said those involved do have the policy together and will start to implement the policy this week, making it effective March 1, 2014, which Malone said would give City Council, City Manager Derek Allen, and all of the city employees time to get the eligibility forms filled out and turned in.

“By implementing this spousal restriction policy, we really don’t know exactly how much it will save the city, but it will be an additional savings to the city, ” Malone said. “And you will be able to realize that at the end of 2014, and even possibly before that, once we identify all of the employees who have spouses that would be affected by this particular policy.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.