County to Move to Self-Insured Healthcare Plan for Employees
Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 7:06PM
Editor

By Greg Wilson/Anderson Observer

Anderson County Council moved ahead Thursday to evaluate a new plan to provide a new health care plan for the county’s more than 1,000 employees.  

Anderson County employees are currently covered through PEBA, the South Carolina state plan, which carries a price tag of $8.64 million in the current budget. The new, self-insured plan will be presented for implementation Sept. 28. 

“This is something we’ve been talking about for months and really working on for over a year,” said Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn. “What where’re trying to do is make the healthcare for our employees better, and to make it sustainable for the future.” 

The new plan would be put into place working with Palmetto Insurance of Anderson as the benefits consulting agency and Direct Access, MD, of Anderson as a provider of primary/family  care. 

“This will be a game-changer to help our employees,” Dunn said.  

The new plan will include dental, vision and life insurance options, as well as continued insurance for retirees, and it expected to save the county between $1.2-1.5 million annually. A self-insured plan will also provide the county with more flexibility in enhancing benefits. Employees will also have the option or keeping their current physicians as part of the plan. 

“This is not driven by cost,” said Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns. “Council asked us to explore how we can improve our current healthcare plan to provide better coverage for our employees.” 

“Our main desire is to offer a better benefit to our employees,” agreed Anderson County Councilman Ray Graham. “Costs are increasing each and every year and we have not passed the increases on to our employees. It is our desire to improve our benefits so they can better serve our community and our taxpayers.”

Anderson County employees are currently covered through PEBA, the South Carolina state plan.  

“It looks like the (new) model provides better preventative care,” said Anderson County Council Member Cindy Wilson. “I am greatly hoping this will be the answer for what our employees are needing.” 

Anderson County Councilman Tom Allen said the proposed plan will offer much better access to healthcare as well through Direct Access, which provides same-day visits,  reduced prescriptions/lab tests and direct contact with patients. 

We’re about the preventative and building a relationship with our patients,” said Dr. Amy Cianciolo, who founded Direct Access with Dr. Shane Purcell. “We’re about the preventative and building a relationship with our patients. We are family doctors and we want to be their doctors for life."

Article originally appeared on The Anderson Observer (http://andersonobserver.com/).
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