Shenandoah County supervisors have given County Administrator Evan Vass the all-clear to enter into a contract with a new health insurance provider as the contract dispute between the county’s current insurer, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Valley Health System drags on.
Supervisors voted 6-0 on Tuesday night to allow Vass to proceed with a new health insurance contract with Aetna Health for an 18-month term beginning Jan. 1. Vass told supervisors that a request for a proposal issued by the county netted responses from Aetna, Cigna and United Healthcare, and that Aetna was the firm that “most closely matched our current coverages” for county employees.
The switch to Aetna will result in a 2.7% decrease in health care premiums paid by the county and its employees, and the contract represents a decrease of $182,944 in annual health care costs, according to county documents.
Anthem has been the county’s health insurance provider for “many years” through a pooled program known as The Local Choice (TLC), according to county documents. The county, in response to the ongoing contract dispute between Anthem and Valley Health, notified TLC last month of its intent to terminate coverage on Dec. 31 in order to prevent its insured employees from becoming out-of-network in 2021.
The 18-month contract would put the county back onto a fiscal-year cycle with its health care coverage, Vass noted. He added that the existing TLC contract provides for an adverse experience adjustment, which county documents describe as a 12-month “look back” on the specific performance of Shenandoah County with respect to how the premiums paid in during the last year compare to insurance claims made against them. According to county documents, Aetna has offered a $100,000 credit to offset the possibility of any adverse experience adjustment by TLC.
Also on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve:
• A lease agreement between the county and the Deer Rapids Road Fund, which continues a practice that has been in place between the two parties for over two decades. The lease, which was prompted by a flooding event in the Deer Rapids subdivision outside of Strasburg in 1996, allows the leased lots to be used and maintained by the homeowners and limits use of those lots to “purposes compatible with open space, recreational or wetlands management practices” and prohibits new structures or improvements on those properties other than temporary restrooms or a “public facility that is open on all sides and functionally related to open space use.”
• The fiscal year 2022 budget calendar, which culminates in the budgets adoption on April 13.
• The appointments of John Adamson and Peggy Boston to the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Comprehensive Plan (CAC).
Board of Supervisors Chairman Dick Neese, Vice-chairman Steve Baker and fellow supervisors Brad Pollack, Karl Roulston, Dennis Morris and Tim Taylor attended Tuesday’s meeting.