BEND, Ore. - The city of Bend says it projects $1.3 million in savings and no premium increases on its new employee health insurance plan for the upcoming plan year, which begins Aug. 1.
All city employees moved to a High Deductible Health Plan in 2011, and the projected savings are compared to the city's former, traditional health plan.
The city worked with all employee groups over the past several years to control health care costs by implementing a High Deductible Health Plan and Health Reimbursement Account (HRA).
The intent was to give employees and their families a sense of security while addressing the ever rising cost of health insurance.
The plan rewards employees and their families for becoming knowledgeable healthcare consumers, for lowering claims costs and for developing healthier lifestyles.
The process began with the Fire Department on a trial basis in 2010. The city saved $215,000 in premiums from the traditional health plan, and Fire Department employees saved almost $600 each that year on premium reductions, while keeping unspent HRA dollars.
At the 2011 renewal, all the remaining city employee groups moved to the High Deductible Health Plan with the HRA. First-year results showed savings of almost $850,000 in premiums from the traditional health plan, with employees showing annual premium savings and HRA savings of almost $650,000.
This reduced claims experience resulted in a low premium increase at renewal for 2012, and this year the City expects to realize a savings of almost $930,000 over the traditional plan premiums with employees and family members saving $650 in annual premiums and banking unspent HRA dollars.
This change, and the resulting savings to the city and employees, was possible because all active employee groups worked together to develop a plan design that met needs and provided savings. City retirees also experienced a savings as a result of this plan change. Without the collaborative approach, the results could not have been possible.