Saluda to reimburse employees $1,000 deductible per year

Published 1:51 pm Wednesday, August 16, 2017


SALUDA-The City of Saluda recently changed insurance providers and because deductibles will be higher for employees, commissioners decided to reimburse employees up to $1,000 per year for their deductibles.

Saluda City Council met Monday, Aug. 14 and approved the reimbursement.

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The board of commissioners recently authorized its staff to change health insurance providers from NCLM (North Carolina League of Municipalities) to the State Health Plan. While the new insurance has higher deductibles than the NCLM plan for employees, the city will save more than $30,000 per year in premiums for switching to the state health plan.

“Providing the employee’s a deductible reimbursement if needed is a way to offset some of the reductions in the employee health insurance benefit,” said city manager Jonathan Cannon.

Cannon said the cost to the city to reimburse deductibles would potentially be $11,000, but since two employees opted out of coverage, the maximum cost would be $9,000.

The reimbursement does come with stipulations for employees. In order to get the $1,000 reimbursement, the employee must comply with all wellness credits required by the state, including for tobacco use.

“Those credits are to select a primary care provider, fill out the medical questionnaire provided by the state and a tobacco attestation or quit line enrollment,” said Cannon.

The deductible costs will be reimbursed as employees pay them throughout the year and the deductible does not accumulate from year to year.

“Excess unused funds expire at the end of each fiscal year,” Cannon said. “Employees would only be reimbursed for deductible expenses actually incurred.”

Commissioners discussed employee healthcare with city finance officer Julie Osteen saying the majority of employees pay $15 a month in premiums, some pay more, depending on which plan they select.

Commissioners approved paying up to $1,000 per employee per year reimbursement and also approved a budget amendment for the potential reimbursements.