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Blue Cross proposal concerns supervisors

Published September 25. 2013 05:00PM

An offer from Mahoning Township's insurance carrier to lock in their rates early for 2014 drew some concerns from supervisors.

They voted to table the offer until after October 1 when the health care market place established by the Affordable Care Act begins.

"I do not want to vote on these rates when I don't know what they will be compared to," said Supervisor Frank Ruch, holding the letter from Blue Cross which stated that if they don't lock in their rates now, by January 2014 the plan may not be available.

Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt questioned how Blue Cross could unilaterally alter their contract with the township.

"Our contract runs from July to July so how can they change it to January without our agreement?" he asked.

Ruch pointed out that the ACA might be the vehicle that would allow the plan to be changed before their contract is supposed to expire.

Chairperson John Wieczorek speculated it was possible the competition from the exchanges the act establishes could reduce rates and that the township may find out there is an identical plan with lower rates available after they were already locked into the plan offered in this letter.

Ruch wasn't sure the plans would be cheaper, but he reiterated that he was not comfortable making a decision so quickly without knowing what the costs of the Blue Cross plan in comparison to the marketplace that is established, or what the other alternatives mentioned in the letter would cost.

The board directed Secretary Natalie Haggerty to call Blue Cross and ask them how they could change the contract in the middle of the year and tabled any action on it until the next meeting since they had until November 7th to make a decision.

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