Municipality Insurance Plans: A Better Way to Better Costs Control

by Howard Danzig

One of the pleasures the pro-active cost-management team at ECCHIC has is serving public organizations, including municipalities and public education organizations. While we enjoy helping all our clients stabilize their health and pharmaceutical costs while their employees get to keep the same benefits they enjoy, it just seems the stakes are a little higher for organizations whose source of “income” is not profits, but taxpayer dollars. As I wrote in an article last year, saving money and being accountable is especially important to these organizations.

Helping municipalities and school districts control their health care costs is what ECCHIC does.

Recently I was in Iowa where I got to have lunch with a city administrator and her assistant along with the HR director of a large public education organization. The city is currently spending about $500,000 a year for health insurance with Blue Cross, and the school organization about $1,500,000 per year with a similar insurance company. I got the opportunity to listen to their challenges and share how to break free of the stranglehold their current carriers have on them along with the carrier’s PBM has on their pharmacy program, and how to keep their program local by eliminating the middlemen and working directly with their local pharmacist.

Understandably, these organizations had one thing in common with others like them. When they go to searchfor solutions to never-ending challenge of rising health insurance costs, they simply have someone call around and get premium quotes from various insurance companies. This method will always yield the same results: You’ll find some quotes just a little higher, some a lot higher, usually compromises in benefits will happen and finally, and some of the additional costs will be handed down to the hard-working public servants or teachers. It’s a never-ending cycle.

But it doesn’t has to be.

What’s needed is a team that does more than throw quotes out – what’s needed is a team that can advocate for the organization. Today more than ever it’s important to have professionals who are on your side showing you how much cost the PBMs and insurance companies add to the cost of drugs and how much medical networks and insurance companies add to the cost of medical services. I enjoy seeing how their eyes light up when I tell them that instead of being focused on comparing one company’s premium to another, they should be comparing the actual cost of drugs and medical services used to the amount of premium being prepaid to pay for it.

There’s a saying that goes something like, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” My variation on that is, “If you keep fighting rising health care costs with a phone call to just another insurance agent, maybe it’s time to call ECCHIC.” We’ve saved municipalities thousands of dollars while perhaps more importantly, provided some piece of mind.

Municipalities are accountable to their taxpaying community members, yet there is no accountability when they pay for the over-priced premiums found in the typical insurance plan. ECCHIC helps local governments save thousands of dollars by owning their plan and thus controlling their health care costs. If you’re involved with a city or county government, watch this two minute video. Then have that next phone call you make be us, because if you just want a quote, go to Shakespeare; if you want a solid solution to rising health care costs, call us.

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