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County amends abortion policy on employee health care plan

by Lisa Wall, Editor Thomasville Times
April 2011

LEXINGTON — Davidson County Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 Tuesday to change the coverage of abortions in the county employees’ health care plan. Commissioner Fred McClure brought the item into discussion prior to the board approving terms and premiums of the 2011-12 health care plan. Commissioner Don Truell cast the dissenting vote.

Under the addendum to be added to the county’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy, abortions would not be covered unless they are a result of “rape or incest or if the pregnancy puts the mother’s life in danger.

“In the exclusion portion [of the policy] I’d like to include elective abortion, further described as to prevent the use of medical abortion used as a method of birth control,” McClure said. “This is an amendment to the plan design. It doesn’t affect the rates or premiums.”

Human Resource Director Jim Tysinger said the current policy states that benefits for abortion, be it therapeutic or elected, are allowable through the first 16 weeks of pregnancy for all policy holders, excluding dependent children.

Tysinger said that wording could be changed to say therapeutic, with a detailed description of what conditions must apply in order to be covered under the policy.

“My only concern is that we get the wording right, so that we didn’t endanger anybody’s health,” Commission Chair Sam Watford said.

Following the plan design vote, the board unanimously voted to approve the health plan for the 2011-12 fiscal year, after hearing policy changes from Tysinger.

“I recommend that we stay with Blue Cross/Blue Shield as our carrier this year,” Tysinger said. “I went out shopping other insurance companies out there. They had the best service and price.”

According to Tysinger, the insurance will increase about 2.5 percent over last year’s cost, which is markedly lower than trends around the state of 7.9 percent. The cost of insurance to the county would be approximately $6.9 million.

Employees who choose the buy out plan will receive a 6 percent increase for single coverage and a 9 percent increase for family coverage. No increase will be assessed to employees for the base plan.

The voluntary dental insurance carrier will switch from Standard to Denton, with only a minimal increase in premiums. The life and accidental death carrier will switch from Standard to Signa, with a premium cost savings to the county of $20,000 over three years.

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