Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record

City officials will be switching medical insurance plans once again in an effort to minimize the costs to city employees.

City council members approved a recommendation from the city’s insurance committee to award employee medical insurance coverage to Aetna for Bridge City employees. The city will continue its dental coverage plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield and its employee life and accidental death and dismemberment plan with Principal.

According to information provided by City of Bridge City, the purpose in switching from Blue Cross Blue Shield to Aetna for medical coverage was a simple decision. It was about keeping costs low for the city and its employees.

“The plan we have now costs the city $641.64 per month, per employee,” said Jerry Jones, city manager of Bridge City. “The cost for the same plan this year would have been $1002.24 per month per employee, and we can’t afford that. Nobody can.”

The new Aetna plan will have a $6,350 deductable and 100 percent co-insurance, a $30 co-pay for regular doctor visits and $60 co-pay for visits with a specialist. Best of all, the cost only increased to $655 per month per employee for the city.

“The city goes back and forth almost every year on these plans it seems,” Jones added. “We’ve had Aetna before. Changing providers because of rates is pretty common, so it wouldn’t suprise me if Blue Cross Blue Shield is lower next year.”

The city will reimburse up to $1,500 for covered incurred expenses towards medical plan deductibles as well for covered employees and dependents. The city will pay $200 towards children’s coverage as well.

The City of Bridge City received a total of 11 bids from four separate insurance providers during the insurance committee’s process of obtaining rate quotes for city employees.

“It’s probably as good of an insurance policy as we could find for the employees,” Jones continued. “And it basically allows us to stay at the same coverage for our employees, which was important.”