Beginning December 1, 2010 the City of Huntington implemented another healthcare option for city employees. The option is an “Alternate Funding” plan to the current group plan, which takes advantage of the same tax code being used by the current group plan, but in a more efficient manner.
Mayor Updike noted that Tim Hare, consultant for ClaimLinx in Cincinnati, Ohio, approached the city administration with this option in July of 2010. Updike stated “it is time to try and conquer health insurance-not to be defeated by it.” Over the next few months, Operations Manager Ruth Marsh, with due diligence researched the plan and applicable tax laws with the help of the city attorneys and several references provided by ClaimLinx. As a result of their efforts the new healthcare plan, a voluntary program for the city employees and their dependents became effective December 1st. Starting with seven employees in December the plan has grown to sixty-five enrollees for May 1st. Anthony Goodnight, Assistant Director of Engineering has been enrolled with the new option since December 1st, says “At first I was skeptical, but it has proven itself to be a good fit for the city and the employees. Any employee who can take advantage of this option, I would highly recommend it.”
As a result of this new option, both the city and the employees are benefiting from the savings and improved benefits, which is saving the taxpayers approximately $30,000.00 per month. Moving forward the plan has the potential for projected savings of $40,000.00 to $50,000.00 per month while providing better benefits to the employees. Don Lahr, retired firefighter came on the alternate plan in January. “I feel like I hit the mini lottery,” says Lahr.
Unlike traditional group health insurance, the alternate funding plan utilizes other insurance options for each employee, all of which are managed by ClaimLinx and the Human Resource Director, Laura Dillon.
Ironically, the same plan was offered to the previous administration but was never implemented. Due to the efforts of the current city administration and legal advisors, the plan was successfully put in place, which is proving to save the city and the taxpayers potentially half a million dollars annually, and providing better benefits to the employees.
ClaimLinx, a consulting company and third party administrator, has clients all across the United States including several other municipalities, school corporations, and many other private businesses.
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