Hospital Authority discusses creating three-entity health insurance plan

Published 8:08 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Hospital Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County discussed the possibility of a three-entity health insurance plan between employees of Memorial Hospital and Manor, the City of Bainbridge and Decatur County at its meeting Tuesday.

The Hospital Authority will renew their health insurance plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield on Jan. 1, 2016. However, instead of the usual 12-month contract, the board unanimously voted for a six-month contract.

The shorter time frame is intended to give the hospital, Bainbridge and Decatur County ample time to discuss a three-entity plan and implementing it.

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“We feel like with consolidating the three entities together, we would get better pricing through the administrative costs and I think we would all benefit from that,” Memorial Hospital and Manor CEO Billy Walker said. “Jan. 1 is too soon to make that happen.”

The Hospital Authority has set July 1 as a target date to begin a new plan with all three entities.

“I would think the costs to go down and the benefits to get better,” said Rusty Davis, who is a Decatur County commissioner and member of the Hospital Authority. “The six months for the hospital would give the hospital, the county and the city plenty of time to see if this is going to work.”

Because Decatur County’s fiscal year ends in July and the City of Bainbridge’s ends in September, it is still up in the air if July is a reasonable target date to start all three entities’ employees on the joint plan.

“We are not recommending any changes in cost of employee premiums at this time,” Walker said. “We would rather defer that to July 1 and the entities come together to make those changes at one time.”

The City of Bainbridge and Decatur County have not yet discussed publicly in an open meeting creating a three-entity health insurance plan.