Health insurance cost skyrocket - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Health insurance cost skyrocket

May 21, 2003

Albany - The cost of health insurance could double for city of Albany, Dougherty County, and Water, Gas and Light employees. If a better deal can't be found, it will cost most employees about 50% more to insure their families.

Less coverage, for more money. That's what Albany, Dougherty County, and WG&L employees will get under a new health insurance plan. The three entities are meeting a week from Wednesday to discuss the proposed health plan which could include less coverage for retirees, and higher premiums and co-pays for employees

Albany Police Corporal Joseph Rizer examines evidence through a microscope. A recent memo for the city also leads him to examine his health insurance plan. The letter warned employees premiums may go up 25% to 30%. But, Rizer says the math doesn't add up. "They sent this letter stating that I will have to pay about $124 dollars a month. I was paying $82 for the family plan. That's about 51% more."

The recent father of twins worries the high cost of health insurance will force him to get a part time job or look for another health care plan. "I just want the city to make sure they have the best plan available," said Cpl. Rizer.

The City, County, and Water, Gas and Light are under the Public Employees Health Group Plan. The City Manager says the increasing cost of health care leaves them with little choice but to raise employee premiums and reevaluate retiree benefits. "We're not the only public and private entities battling higher cost in their health plans," said Janice Allen Jackson.

Next Wednesday, the city, county, and WG&L will hear a proposal for a revamped health insurance plan. "I don't know what the proposal will be or how much our employees will be effected."

The co-pay for workers may increase. And, retirees spouses may no longer be covered. But just what changes will be made and at what cost is still unknown.

At least two of the three entities must approve the health insurance proposal before the changes are implemented.

Posted at 6:30PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com