HART goes self-insured to cut costs
TAMPA - During the past five years, HART paid two private health insurance companies $5.4 million more in premiums than those insurance companies paid in claims, a HART report shows. In 2011, for example, the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority paid Cigna $5.8 million in premiums versus $4.6 million Cigna paid in claims. This year, HART became a self-insured provider, taking in a portion of health care premiums from employees for the first time and making payments of $100,000 or less without relying on an insurance company beyond administrative services. Payments for catastrophic claims of more than $100,000 would be handled through a re-insurance program."The self-insured model will help in managing our claims experience more closely," HART spokeswoman Marcia Mejia said. The new program appears to be working smoothly, although it's likely too early to draw financial conclusions, officials said Monday. "We don't have a full year of numbers," said HART director of human resources, risk and legal services Michael Stephens. Ten of the top 11 medications by number of prescriptions were for "lifestyle" related problems including cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and anxiety, Stephens said. HART is considering plans for a clinic on its property to better communicate with and serve employees and cut down on absenteeism by keeping employees healthier, Stephens said. In 2011, hypertension was the most chronic issue for HART employees, with 308 of 910 insurance pool members, including family and employees, filing for 382 hypertension "episodes" at an average cost of $620 each. Coronary and heart disorders were the most expensive problems for which employees and family filed in 2011, with 65 claims at an average cost of $9,327 each. HART employees can choose from two options for health insurance for themselves and their families, with biweekly premiums ranging from $32.41 to $50.16 for employee-only coverage and $115.93 to $155.88 for employee plus family coverage. The deductibles and payments for various care packages vary between the two plans.
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