Schoen to choose health insurance

By Katherine Wartell

Riley County Law Board members voted Wednesday to authorize RCPD Director Brad Schoen to select a health insurance plan for the department.

The special meeting was a continuation of November’s monthly board meeting, where the topic had previously been broached. The department is considering multiple options including changing to a state plan, staying with its current insurers, Preferred Health Systems, or becoming self-insured through Harrington Health, through which the city of Manhattan is self-insured. Department officials are also looking at an option from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

For one option, Schoen suggested staying with the current plan so the department has a year to prepare for self-insurance.

Assistant City Manager Lauren Palmer told board members that the city has been satisfied with its self-insured plan, but said there is always risk involved.

About $1.6 million was budgeted for health insurance for 2013. Health insurance is approximately 10 percent of the department’s total budget.

If the department were to choose a state plan, Schoen said, it would be locked in for three years, which he does not view as a preferable option, particularly in light of the 2014 implementation of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and the uncertainty surrounding it.

During the meeting, three state plans were presented to board members, each with a premium of approximately $1.5 million. Though the plans would be a decrease in cost from their current plan, Schoen expressed concern that coverage cost for employees would increase. 

Law Board members present were county commissioners Karen McCulloh and Dave Lewis, city commissioners Rich Jankovich and Wynn Butler and Mayor Loren Pepperd.

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