Insurance Coverage For County Employees Spurs Conversation

Winnebago County employees will continue to have coverage through an insurance trust with other counties, school districts, and city governments. The program is under the Iowa Governmental Health Care Plan or IGHCP provided by Wellmark. The county signed a contract with the program administrator, Two Rivers Insurance.

Some may remember a story we aired on KIOW and here on our website regarding an investigation by the Iowa Insurance Division concerning Two Rivers. Allegations were made that Two Rivers overcharged its clients with administrative fees that it did not fully disclose. Winnebago and Hancock Counties were allegedly affected by these charges along with other area city governments and school districts. Hancock County opted to look elsewhere and found a cheaper rate through another insurance broker.

Winnebago Supervisors listened to Denise Ballard, a representative of Two Rivers, who was the presenter of the insurance package. Ballard made a point to say that the investigation is nearly complete and that all of the results from it will be made public soon. This did not satisfy Winnebago Supervisor Mike Stensrud and he explained why.

Ballard did admit to the supervisors that the commission that was charged at that time was built into the premiums and was not disclosed to the insured, because it, “wasn’t a thing in the insurance industry.” She emphasized to the board that at no time was her company deceptive to their clients.

Winnebago County has remained with the insurance broker, despite the allegations and will now see an 8% increase in premiums. This did not sit well with Stensrud who felt that the county could have done a better job in finding a better rate by conducting the same search as Hancock County did.

Stensrud feels that right now, the county is extremely limited in their choice of health coverage. He wants to see county employees get better rates and possibly, better coverage. All the while, saving taxpayer money.

The Winnebago Board voted 2-1 in favor of retaining Wellmark as their current insurance for another year. Stensrud was the only dissenter.

 

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