Councilman: Taxpayers' dollars over funding health insurance - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Councilman: Taxpayers' dollars over funding health insurance for government employees

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South lawmaker is warning taxpayers millions of their dollars may be over funding health insurance for governmental employees.

Memphis City Council Chairman Edmund Ford, Jr. stated something does not add up.

"Let's not sit on it. Let's talk about it," said Ford.

He found vast fluctuations in government employee health care premiums.

"From $300 a month for family coverage [to] all the way up to almost $1000," continued Ford.

The red flag went up when Ford heard story after story from school teachers struggling with a pricey insurance hike.

"[Some have] had to refinance their home just so that they could pay for the insurance and feed their family," explained Ford.

Ford learned The City of Memphis, Shelby County Government, MLGW, and Shelby County Schools all use CIGNA for health insurance coverage. Yet, the plans were set up separately. He  noticed the school system, with the largest pool of people, pays the highest rates.

"[They cover] over 16,000 people," said Ford.

He found MLGW, the group with the smallest pool of employees, pays the lowest in overall premiums.

"It's in the range of $58 million," Ford asserted.

Ford believes with that kind of taxpayer money being spent, the savings could be huge, if the four entities bring all 45,000 employees under one plan.

"We're all going to collaborate to see if we can find cost savings," remarked Ford.

He set up a meeting Thursday with administrators from all four entities to ask some serious questions. Ford is hoping joining plans will drive costs down.

"That would be a win, win," declared Ford.

Ford made clear he does not want to compromise current health care standards for employees happy with their current plan. Currently, it is not certain if or when the entities would present a proposal to CIGNA.

Ford has put together a cost comparison analysis of all the plans.

Click here to view the cost comparison for yourself: http://ftpcontent4.worldnow.com/wmctv/20131013104217364.pdf

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