Kimball studies health insurance options for workers

Kimball studies health insurance options for workers

September 7th, 2013 by Ryan Lewis in Local Regional News

Kimball, Tenn., Mayor David Jackson is seen in this file photo.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

KIMBALL, Tenn. - The state's health insurance costs are increasing once again, and that has city leaders looking for a potential new carrier.

City Recorder Tonia May said Thursday that every plan on the state's health insurance program will see a 5 percent hike starting in January.

"Of course, it's increasing," she said. "It always increases."

Mayor David Jackson said city officials will solicit local insurance agencies this week in hopes of getting a better arrangement for Kimball's employees.

"We may not be able to, but I think we need to look into it," he said. "It's every year. [The state's premiums] will jump 4 or 5 percent every year."

If the city opts out of the state health insurance program, it cannot sign back on for a minimum of two years, May said.

Jackson said city leaders need to be "mindful" of that state rule when making a decision on whether to stay with the state's program or to sign up with another agency.

City Attorney Billy Gouger said the Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen does not need to approve the solicitation of other possible insurance deals, but it will have to approve either the state's increase or another agency soon.

"It doesn't hurt to ask," Jackson said. "We may need to come right back [next month] and take [the state's plan]."

Since the board didn't act on approving the state's insurance premium increase Thursday, the matter will move to the next meeting's agenda on Oct. 3.

"If we make the decision to go to another insurance carrier, it's in the best interests of our employees," Jackson said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.