MOUNT VERNON — Accelerated Benefits pitched a plan to county officials Thursday for the county’s insurance benefits. The county has been with MedBen for a number of years, but Thomas Wagoner, founder and CEO of Dublin-based Accelerated Benefits, proposed alternative plans which would use other providers, emphasizing proactive care and system analysis.
Wagoner particularly noted that the county’s current deductible and co-pay levels for insured employees are unusually low for most plans these days.
“God bless you for that,” Wagoner said. “But it will be hard to keep them that low in the future, no matter who your provider is.” According to the National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans assembled in 2008 by Mercer, the county’s $100 individual deductible is nearly half the rate for other governmental agencies nationwide and only a 10th of the average deductible for private businesses. For family deductible rates, the county’s plan was lower as well, though not as significantly. County employees’ co-pay is also half the national average.
Wagoner’s plan was to instead focus on incentives to get covered employees to regularly see doctors so that total expenses are brought down by preventative medicine and regular maintenance. He said that statistics show that 90 percent of men don’t receive annual physical examinations. Wagoner likened this to neglecting maintenance on a vehicle and said that it drives up the cost of insurance.
In terms of system management, Wagoner stressed the importance of doing audits to confirm or reject the eligibility of the people on the insurance plan. County Auditor Jonette Curry said that the county already audits college-age members enrolled in family plans to assure that they are full-time students, which is required for coverage. Wagoner said that was good, but that his company would run further audits, of all enrollees, to find additional savings by removing these people from the program and offering them their own opportunities to purchase insurance.
The application of these practices and going with a different insurance provider could potentially result in the county saving over half a million dollars, based on MedBen’s previous costs.
The officials, who included Curry, Commissioners Allen Stockberger and Teresa Bemiller, will be hearing from a number of insurance companies before deciding.