Knox County will need another $1.4 million to cover health care for its employees due to the increasing costs of specialty drugs.
county will cover half the amount – some $700,000 – and then raise the
price of premiums for its employees to cover the other half.
the skyrocketing costs of those drugs – that’s the main reason we have
to do this,” said Nick McBride, the chairman of the county’s employee
insurance committee. “No one wants their insurance to go up, but as we
all know the costs keep rising for everyone unfortunately.”
example, Sovaldi, a new specialty drug that has a 90 percent cure rate
for hepatitis C costs $84,000 for a three-month course. A drug to combat
hemophilia can cost as much as $130,000 per month.
The county is
self-insured, which means it pays the costs of the claims employees
file. Some 2,300 employees and an additional 3,200 family members are on
the county’s insurance plan. The cost of premiums, which are deducted
from each pay check, vary depending on which of the three plans an
employee has and the number of people on the plan.
1, when the new plan takes effect, employees will pay an extra $5 per
paycheck for individual plans; $10 per paycheck for a plan that covers
them and one more person; and $15 per paycheck for the family plan.
That will set the new rates for the least expensive plan at $10, $69 and $104, respectively.
those costs will double if the employee does not have a health risk
assessment conducted or participate in HumanaVitality, a program
designed to encourage healthy lifestyle changes.
not much we can do about the cost of the specialty drugs, but where we
can save money is by working together to have a healthier workforce,”
McBride said. “The employees can take the assessment – a physical – that
can detect early heart disease or cancer, and give them a chance to get
ahead of it.”
Last year, the county paid about $24 million in
health insurance costs, said county Finance Director
Chris Caldwell, and
the employees paid about a combined $4.2 million.