Augusta commission mulls self insurance, predicts 'bump' in out of pocket expenses

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It is a move that will impact more than 2,000 people. The city of Augusta is trying to decide what to do about health care, and one of the options is going self-insured.

News 12's cameras were rolling as Augusta commissioners got a look at the pros and cons of dropping Blue Cross Blue Shield for a self insurance provider.

"Our main focus is what's going to happen to the employees," said Commissioner Wayne Guilfoyle. "What's going to be in their future?"

The big concern is whether employees will be able to continue seeing their family doctor.

"Because if you have got a serious illness and you have got to go to another doctor ... guess what?" Guilfoyle said. "You have got to start over, and it's a hit and miss. It's not worth it for the employees."

The decision must be made in the next two to three months. It could change the future of health care for more than 2,000 workers.

"From an employee perspective," said Commissioner Jerry Brigham, "if it changes things drastically, which I don't anticipate, it could not be a very good choice."

But the city also has to think about taxpayers in general.

"From the taxpayers' perspective," Brigham said, "if it reduces our cost, it is a very good idea."

It seems one thing is certain for employees.

"Regardless, whichever way we go, there is going to be a bump," Guilfoyle said.

Brigham agrees an increase is likely on the table.

"I was surprised we didn't have one last time," Brigham said.

The city says self-funding could save about $2 million. A formal recommendation is expected on Monday, Oct. 8.

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