County council to consider self-insurance plan

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By Arin McKenna

In October 2012, the Los Alamos County Council approved a staff recommendation that the county become self-insured. On Tuesday, staff brings the finished product before council for approval.
Self-insurance provides two benefits to the county.
The first is lower insurance premiums. When staff first proposed the option, the county had been quoted a preliminary renewal rate with a 16.4 percent increase. By moving to a self-funded arrangement, the increase was only 3.5 percent.
Self-funding also allows the county more options with variables such as copays. Under a fully insured arrangement, the employer must choose from plans filed with the state insurance authority.
The initial quote for 2014 included a 21.3 percent increase. A newly-formed health insurance committee worked with County Administrator Harry Burgess to research and develop a plan design that was both affordable and comprehensive.
The group researched approximately 60 different options, with a goal of keeping the increase under 15 percent. They also reviewed plans offered by Los Alamos National Laboratory, the State of New Mexico and the State Health Care Exchange before deciding on options.

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