Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Port Richey switches health insurance provider

PORT RICHEY — Facing steep rate hikes for employee health insurance, City Council members decided to switch health insurance providers.

The council voted 3-2 Tuesday night to move to United Healthcare when the city's contract with Aetna expires March 1. But even that change will mean a 21 percent jump of $33,933 in the city's annual insurance bill.

During the bidding process, Aetna proposed a 59 percent increase of $92,340 in the city's annual premiums, from $157,140 this year to $249,480 next year. The increase came in part because city employees' claims over the past year far outweighed the premiums that were paid, according to the city's insurance broker, Gehring Group.

Aetna collected an average $4,700 in premiums per person but paid out an average $8,500 in claims.

"Actually that is extremely high," said Gehring's Anna Maria Studley, who made a presentation prior to the vote.

Employees will see a rate increase in their new plans under United Healthcare, though the city will still offer a no-cost base plan to single employees. But the base plan at single and family rates has a $10,000 deductible, which incensed council member Terry Rowe.

"When I saw a $10,000 deductible I was aghast. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it," Rowe said.

Council member Nancy Britton, who along with Rowe voted against the switch, said the $771-a-month family rate United offers for its base health insurance is too high.

"I wouldn't choose this for myself," Britton said.

Vice Mayor Bill Colombo said nothing will change in terms of the $10,000 base plan deductible, which is the rate in the current Aetna plan, and pointed to buy-up plans employees can choose to reduce their deductible.

Several employees also decried the increases, saying their paychecks will be cut too deep. Police department employee Kristina Coolidge said covering herself, her husband and her daughter, as well as paying $200 a month for child care, would take a big chunk of her pay.

"So that leaves me with a take home pay of about $300 per month to be employed here," she said.

Rowe proposed postponing the decision to look for a better deal, while former council member Phyllis Grae accused the board of waiting to the last minute to make a decision.

"I really and truly don't think you did your homework," she said.

Mayor Richard Rober defended the effort: "Just because you don't like the result of what was researched and presented doesn't mean someone didn't go through a lot of trouble on it," he said.

The city's loss ratio is so poor some insurance providers wouldn't even offer a bid, Rober said. "That says everything, that says it all," he said.

Port Richey switches health insurance provider 02/15/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 6:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Estuary wins pier design contest for the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway extension

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — And the winner is… Estuary.

    Voters overwhelmingly supported a pier design called Estuary for the $200-million extension of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway in Tampa.
[Courtesy of AECOM]
  2. What to watch and listen to this week: Halloween offerings, best spooky podcasts


    Halloween is all about scary stories. The holiday itself is based on a compilation of creepy tales from history going back thousands of years.

    The Halloween kids classic The Nightmare Before Christmas airs this week on Freeform.
  3. Fennelly: Would you take Jameis Winston over Cam Newton?


    Factoring out futures, it wouldn't be a short list if I picked NFL quarterbacks I'd take right now over Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston (3) calls a play during the first half of Sunday's game. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. Man faces charge of abuse after 2-month-old injured


    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 2-month-old child was taken to All Children's Hospital with multiple skull fractures Saturday afternoon, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, and a 24-year-old man has been arrested.

    Jacob Brattain, 24, of Zephyrhills is charged with aggravated child abuse and was arrested Sunday. According to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office, a 2-month-old child suffered multiple skull fractures under his care.
  5. Amazon receives 238 proposals from places eager to become its 2nd headquarters


    NEW YORK — Amazon said Monday that it received 238 proposals from cities and regions in the United States, Canada and Mexico hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters.

    Earlier this month, an Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair head into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. Amazon says it received 238 proposals from cities and regions hoping to be the home of the company's second headquarters. 
[AP Photo/Elaine Thompson]