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City of Martin asked to choose health insurance

City of Martin asked to choose health insurance
Update: During a formal session Thursday evening by the City of Martin’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen, the board granted Westan Insurance the opportunity to carry the city employee’s health insurance policy through an HRA (health reimbursement account). The board also agreed to allow Carey Insurance of Martin to continue to hold the vision and dental policies for the city’s employees. For complete details from the Thursday evening board meeting, pick up a copy of next Tuesday’s edition of The Press.

It has been nearly seven years that the City of Martin has allowed Carey Insurance, Inc. of Martin to hold the health, dental and vision insurance policies for city employees.
After a recommendation made by the city’s insurance committee earlier this week, the City of Martin’s Mayor and Board of Aldermen will be asked to accept a proposal offered by Westan Insurance of Martin.
During an informal session Tuesday evening of the board of mayor and aldermen, representatives of both insurance companies were on hand to answer questions and provide commentary for two varying proposals.
Alan Carey of Carey Insurance, Inc. asked the city to continue its use of his business and stick with the current HSA (Health Savings Account) plan the employees and their family members currently have.
Through the provider, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee, the city would anticipate a 10 percent increase under the current HSA plan.
Carey defended his proposal by citing the city could save thousands of dollars if the insurance is used less than in years past.
Under the Westan Insurance proposal, the city would carry an HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) plan. Employees and their family members would have a deductible under the HRA.
“The goal for the city is to find the best plan for the city and its employees,” Alderman David Belote shared.
“We would like to keep this thing as low as we possibly could and I am in favor of the $63,000 savings to the city,” Aldermen Bill Harrison added.
Apparently, if the city opted to use Westan Insurance and the HRA plan proposed, the city could save $63,000 from what it currently spends or will spend on insurance in the future.
During discussion of the two proposals, the city’s insurance committee members stated they did not review the HSA plan offered by Carey Insurance because they were told an HSA was no longer an option for city employees.
“HSA plans have hurt our employees the last few years,” Martin Mayor Randy Brundige said during the meeting.
When asked what his views on the situation were, Alderman Randy Edwards said if he had his way, he would kick Blue Cross/Blue Shield to the curb.
“We should finance our own insurance as much as we have to pay. We have had an increase every year. I wish we had more insurance companies that would take the city,” Edwards commented.
Carey responded that other providers were offered a chance to carry the city’s insurance, but only one had considered it other than BC/BS.
“Municipalities are sicker and therefore are more risky. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is the only insurance provider that I know who is willing to take the risk to cover municipalities,” Carey added.
By the end of the meeting, the city’s insurance committee stood by its recommendation to accept a proposal offered by Westan Insurance, citing it was a better plan for the employees and their family members as well as the city.
The board of mayor and aldermen will vote on the proposal (Thursday) this afternoon at 5:15 during a formal session in the city hall courtroom.
Other issues on the agenda for the board this evening include the second and final reading of an ordinance to rezone a tract of land located off of Tyler Austin Road from R-1 (low density residential) to R-1A (high density single family residential).
By rezoning the area, new constructions could gain an additional 10 square feet on each side. The public hearing is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. on the ordinance.
Board members will also consider approving paving projects for the upcoming fiscal year. The 12 projects include portions of West Peach Street, Sandhill Road and portions of Hannings Lane.
Board members agreed to advertise for bids on creating a recreational walking trail at Harmon Field near Thompson’s Grocery.
Brundige explained the city had applied for a Trails Grant for the project, but was ultimately rejected because the recreational trail would not interconnect with another trail.
The City of Martin will call for a November City Election. The mayoral seat, and one alderman from each ward will be listed on the November ballot.
The qualifying deadline for the seats is Aug. 19.
With First State Bank officially moved out of its University Street location into its new building across the street, the City of Martin will take over the former First State Bank location for its city hall on July 1.
A catered grand opening for the new city hall location is planned from 1 until 6 p.m. on Friday, July 2. The Martin Police Department will then be able to expand at its current location.
WCP 6.10.10

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