Dougherty employees get more choices in health coverage - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty employees get more choices in health coverage

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By Delivrine Registre - bio | email

November 17, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Dougherty County Board of Commissioners approved a healthcare plan they say gives their employers more choices. "We wanted to make sure we had quality health care, that we got the deepest discounts we could, and at the same time give the employers choice," said Dougherty County Chairman, Jeff Sinyard.

Employers will have three plans to choose from. Option one is the closest to their current plan. Option two has a higher deductible, higher co-pay, and lower premium. Employers who choose either one of these plans would be able to go to either Palmyra Medical Centers or Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital for healthcare.

With the third option employers would get the biggest discounts, but the healthcare would come exclusively from Phoebe's Health partners and the First Medical network. "If they take that option we get that deep discount which is eight percent lower than the other two plans," said District 6 commissioner, Jack Stone. 

Last year 97 percent of the employees in Dougherty County received healthcare exclusively from Phoebe Putney doctors. "Only two and half percent used someone else. Percentage-wise that eight percent adds up to almost $800,000," said Stone.

Muarleen Edwards is the only commissioner who voted against the plan. "I have not gotten that on an equal basis, that the information has been placed on an even playing field. And that's what I feel I should have before I make my decision," said Edwards.

But other commissioners say this plan addressed all of their previous concerns. "And that's what I wanted all along; to save all the money we could, possibly save them with the discounts, and have our employees also have a choice," said Stone. 

Detailed presentations of the three health care options will be given to Dougherty County employees in January. Open enrollment will begin in January.

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