The decision last year to switch to a self-funded employee insurance plan has led to large savings for Franklin County in just the first four months of 2018.
According to numbers provided to The Missourian by First District Commissioner Tim Brinker, the county has saved $352,663 over what it would have paid on its old health insurance plan for the same amount of claims.
Brinker pushed for the self-funded plan for about two years and ranks the new insurance as one of the top successes for 2017.
“We knew the savings would be big, but this is impressive,” Brinker said. “These numbers show we obviously made the right choice.”
The county has about 300 employees and offers health insurance to them and their immediate families.
Exact numbers of claims can’t be released due to patient privacy laws, but in the first quarter of 2018, $499,574 was spent on medical claims by those insured under the new plan.
If the county had kept its old insurance the costs for the same services would have been $852,237.
Brinker stressed not every quarter may show the same amount of savings, but overall he is pleased with the early returns.
“The bottom line is, it’s great,” he said. “It shows we are going in the right direction and saving the taxpayer’s money.”
Projections for the first year on the new plans were estimated to save the county about $200,000, which translates to less tax dollars spent on insurance.
Brinker explained the county and employees will no longer pay their premiums directly to an insurance company.
Instead those payments will go into a savings account that will be maintained by a third-party administrator.
When an employee requires a payout, the administrator will then make payments to medical facilities when employees use their insurance.
“Once we pay the insurance company each year that money is gone,” Brinker said. “Being self-funded, you only pay for what you use.”
Last year the county spent more than $2.7 million on employees health insurance. With the new plan the county will pay an estimated $2.5 million.
“We could end up spending $1.8 million or a lot less, depending on the plan,” Brinker said. “Either way, that money is ours to do with what we want.”
Brinker said the money left over each year can be refunded to employees or might be used as incentives for lifestyle practices to encourage employees to exercise or eat healthy.