Oxford taxpayers to fund insurance increase

djournal-health-news-stock2OXFORD (AP) – The city of Oxford is picking up a $20 a month increase in health insurance for its employees.

The Oxford Eagle reports that the city’s health plan will be taken over by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi in 2014.

Because of a 157 percent loss ratio last year, the city was told by its insurance company, Morgan & White, that it could expect a 50 percent to 90 percent increase in its insurance rate. City leaders began looking at competing insurance companies, but many wouldn’t even give the city a quote due to its loss ratio.

“There was no way we could keep everything exactly the same as it was,” Mayor Pat Patterson said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield offered coverage with a premium increase of 33 percent.

The city’s insurance costs will rise from $1.4 million last year to almost $2 million in 2014.

Insurance agent Brad Camp said the increase was due to an increase of claims overall including six catastrophic health events.

City employees do not contribute to their insurance so city taxpayers pay the entire premium for the employee only. An employee can opt to add a spouse or child, but at their cost.

Patterson recommended that employees pay $20 a month toward their insurance. The board of aldermen this last week voted down the proposal 3-2.

The board voted to cancel some purchases and use some available cash to offset the increase.