City staff will see a change in their employee health insurance benefits starting next year regarding after the Jefferson City Council voted to switch carriers.
The resolution, approved unanimously by the council, will authorize MetLife to provide health, dental, vision and life insurance for city employees and dependents from the beginning of 2024 to the end of 2026.
The human relations department was told to seek different options for providing health insurance for employees after the current self-insured method was criticized by council members for leading to a $1 million shortage in the budget for next year.
The rates for the plans will match the current rates with two additional benefits, Sarah Trittler, a specialist for the human resources department, said during Monday's meeting.
"Dental insurance adds implants and vision insurance will allow more money for contacts and glasses," said Trittler.
In 2016, the city established a self-funded health insurance fund to act as an internal service fund to account for the transactions and reserves associated with the city's medical and prescription drug programs for city employees.
Prior to this, the city provided healthcare through the Missouri Consolidated Health Care Plan as a fully insured employer, meaning the city paid Missouri Consolidated through premiums, and Missouri Consolidated paid for the claims.
Missouri Consolidated would then collect the profits or take the losses depending on the claim as well, according to Human Resources Director Gail Strope.
City staff members have been working with Wallstreet Group, a local insurance agency through which the city also contracts employee benefits, to determine less expensive and more sustainable insurance alternatives.
Trittler said MetLife is offering not only competitive rates, but a rate guarantee for three years for all products, except for dental benefits, which can increase by at most 5 percent each year.
Trittler said there would be an additional cost to the city by about $5,000 for basic life insurance and a decrease in cost by about $12,000 for long-term disability, providing a net savings of $7,000 for the city as a result of switching to MetLife.
The resolution was approved unanimously by all council members except Ward 1 Councilman Jeff Ahlers, who was absent.
This meeting is available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O48rt-JB298.