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CHEYENNE – Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr today announced that Blue Cross Blue Shield will not be increasing health insurance premium rates for city employees in the next fiscal year.
Orr said industry standard increases were projected between 9 - 11 percent and instead of accepting these increases, she hired a consultant with industry experience to negotiate.
“We had to aggressively negotiate which is what we did,” Orr said. “We contracted with the best we could find and as a result, the expected $790,000 rate increase dropped down to zero. That is a smart and effective way of managing our city dollars.”
“There were some critics out there who didn’t want to fund an expert in this field to negotiate,” Orr said. “But let’s look at the bottom line. We spent $65,000 to fund Novo Benefits, led by consultant Dianna Medvig, and they saved us $790,000. You’d be hard pressed to find any organization our size that will have a zero-dollar rate increase in their health insurance next year. But we did.”
Orr complimented Blue Cross Blue Shield for their commitment to Cheyenne employees and announced future plans to keep costs down.
“Our discussion with them has included conversation that our goal is to become self-insured. In order to do this, we will need significant seed money, and this savings will get us well there. We will be proposing to council that the budgeted $790,000 be placed in a reserve account to fund next year’s plan.”
“By becoming self-insured, the city will be able to better manage our benefits, control our medical trends, and position us for a patient-centered medical home in the future. In essence – we will own our own claims data and have 32 stop-loss carriers to choose from versus 3 which will result in health insurance funds staying within the city. This is good news for our employees and taxpayers as well,” said Human Resources Director Darrin Hass.