We won’t mess with employees

Published 9:25 pm Saturday, February 8, 2014

Guest column By Susan Keith

The recent column by The Selma Times-Journal’s Josh Bergeron was very timely and should clear up the misconceptions about the City of Selma choosing to retain Blue Cross Blue Shield as its insurance carrier for city employees.

To further clarify this issue, there is nothing on which to vote. There never was a motion offered to switch the city’s insurance carrier. Council President Pro Tem, Dr. Cecil Williamson posed an inquiry to Blue Cross as to what type of coverage and savings the Obamacare plan would be so the city council could assess the feasibility of retaining Blue Cross or possibly changing to Obamacare.

The city council heard and reviewed the information — all of the facts — and affirmed the decision to remain with Blue Cross. In case anyone missed it, the reasons are simple.

Although it appears on its face to save the City of Selma money, it could cost us in the long run; $700,000 is a lot of money. But considering that it is a one-time savings on a plan that is not at all like the plan we currently offer, it really isn’t a “savings” but actually cutting the level of coverage offered. The “savings” would be at the expense and on the backs of our employees. The costs would be passed down to them in the form of increase in their premium share, co-pays, and decrease in coverage.

Face it, sundown and payday are not attributes of City of Selma employment. Why our good and faithful employees are so dedicated sometimes baffles me. Yet they are. Mainly it is because they take seriously their role in serving the public. Partly it is because they have always been able to count on good benefits — insurance, retirement, and government holidays.

The Obamacare plan is restricted to certain providers and certain drug stores.

We all know Dallas County has horrible incidents of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and other co-morbidity factors; things that cause early death and disability. It is so important that people have access to good health Care. The Affordable Care Act Plan that was offered to the City of Selma places limitations on the health care providers and drug stores.

I am acquainted with some people, who for various reasons were unable to be insured, but now are on Obamacare individual plans. I am happy that they now have access to health care and a hope for a healthier and longer life.

The Affordable Care Act serves people in this category well. For the employees and, ultimately, for the City of Selma, it would not serve us well, at least at this point and time,

Some things we cannot put a price on. The health and wellbeing of our employees is at the top.