By Ashley Rader
An insurance provider’s negotiations with a regional health care giant has the attention of the City of Elizabethton, with a summer renewal date looming.
Council approved a first reading of the 2013-2014 budget Thursday night, with the possibility of a tax-rate increase to pay for street repairs being raised, and also heard an update on the city’s health insurance.
The city’s employee health insurance plan is with BlueCross/BlueShield, and was up for renewal July 1.
Human Resources Director Angie Lyons told council members that because BlueCross had not come to an agreement with Mountain States Health Alliance on coverage, the city had gotten a quote from Humana Insurance and asked for a renewal extension from BlueCross to allow them time to reach an agreement.
She said if no agreement is reached by Aug. 1 – the new BlueCross deadline after the extension – the city would recommend a switch to Humana insurance to benefit city employees. Humana will be in-network with MSHA for the next two years, according to its current agreement with the health care provider.
“Most of the health care options locally are provided by MSHA, so if they can’t come to an agreement it would be more out-of-pocket costs for the city employees,” Lyons said.