Montgomery County employees are facing a change in regard to medical insurance coverage, but early estimates show that the lower income employees will benefit from the proposed change.

Currently it costs the county $6,443.64 per employee each year to provide medical insurance. A breakout of that shows medical is $428.15 per month, dental is $27.79 per month and life insurance is $6.03 per month. It also includes $400 a year in a FLEX account and a $500 annual medical supplement. Those costs are expected to rise to 20 percent on premium increases alone, if the county stays with the current plan. The current plan is not Affordable Care Act compliant, creating additional cost issues. County Manager Matthew Woodard explained the significant premium increase is due to the large loss ratio for the county. Woodard says the county cannot afford any additional increases in costs, noting that currently Montgomery County spends 14 percent of payroll for major medical premiums only. The federal government states premiums should not exceed 9 percent. Woodard said they had looked at numerous options with the medical insurance, including employees absorbing the increased cost and cutting of all but medical and life insurance coverage, but to do that Woodard says would leave money on the table. After extended discussions with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Woodard agrees with their recommendation to discontinue providing medical insurance to employees and to assist employees in pursuing insurance though the Marketplace. This assistance will include navigational, choice information and financial assistance.

To read the full story see the Feb. 5 edition of Montgomery Herald.