Albany hires broker for best insurance deal - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany hires broker for best insurance deal

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May 28, 2008

Albany -- The city of Albany hired a broker to negotiate health insurance for employees and retirees. Phoebe Putney Hospital wants to be the sole health provider for city workers, but the broker says the deal Phoebe is offering might not be the most cost efficient.

For the last 27 years the City of Albany, Water Gas and Light, and Dougherty County leaders used the same insurance broker to work out their health and dental insurance deals, but city commissioners want a new deal for City and Water Gas and Light employees. City manager Alfred Lott said "what we are looking for is better administration. Somebody to negotiate with the health providers to get us the best deal possible."

Last year the City had about five million dollars in health and dental insurance claims for employees, and decided to negotiate for better rates using ShawHankins from Cartersville as broker. Tuesday night the firm's representative told city leaders that Phoebe proposed becoming sole health care provider for the employees.

But the broker said that might not be the best plan for employees who want to have the option of using Doctors outside the Phoebe program. Lott said "health care is a real personal issue, so we want to be able to compensate or provide HMO support for these folks too. And not tell somebody you simply have to go here."

Lott said Phoebe would naturally get the bulk of the city's health care business, because they are the largest health provider in the area, and praised Phoebe for the care they have provided.

So the broker will continue negotiations with all providers. Lott said "so we can provide the best health care at the lowest rate, and minimize the burden on the tax payers."

 Phoebe officials say they continue to negotiate with the City broker, offering their highest quality health care.

Lott said the city also wants their broker to establish new wellness programs, to reward employees with healthy lifestyles.

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