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County Executive Falk Announces County Keeps the Lid on Rising Employee Health Care Costs for 2004

For more information contact:

Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 10/16/2003

Issued By: County Executive
View only releases from County Executive
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced today that Dane County, working with various county AFSCME employee union locals, has arrived at contracts with Dean Health Plan and Physicians Plus HMO that limit health insurance premiums to no more than a 7.38% increase next year.

In comparison, the State of Wisconsin’s health plan for next year is rising 12%. Elsewhere in the state, municipalities’ health packages are rising in double digits, some over 20%. And the Dane County package has improved employee benefits.

“These agreements are good news for our County taxpayers, and good news for our County employees, as well. Together, we restrained health care costs, which helps control the County’s expenses,” said Falk. “This is an important step in pushing back on the overall trend of higher health care costs. The contacts also lay the foundation for limiting health insurance increases in the future. Finally, the contracts offer more health care choices for our employees in ways that generate savings for employees and the County.”

The county achieved $1.1 million in savings for health care costs for 2004 over what was originally proposed by Dean Health Plan to extend the county’s existing contract. Dean is the county’s current provider, and the current contract expires this year. Both Dean and Physician Plus HMO vied for the County’s business.

For the first time, County employees will have a choice in health care providers, called “dual enrollment.” They can choose among the Physicians Plus HMO or Dean HMO single or family plans, or the Dean Point of Enrollment plan. The Point of Enrollment plan allows greater flexibility in choosing health care providers, but requires co-pays and a deductible.

The health care plans also offer two improved benefits over the current plan. A $20,000 cap on prescription drug coverage was removed, and home health care visits increased from 40 to 100 visits.

Employees will have from October 20 until November 14 to select the health plan of their choice.

Because employees have the choice of two HMO’s, the County expects to recognize additional savings after the dual choice period is ended. An exact accounting of those additional savings will be completed by early in 2004.

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