REGISTER VIEWPOINT: A matter of policies in Perkins

Perkins Township has found itself in a lousy position -- but one familiar to many, many employers across the country these days.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Perkins Township has found itself in a lousy position -- but one familiar to many, many employers across the country these days.

Namely, three claims on the employee health insurance plan have left the township with a 60 percent increase in insurance premiums.

That was the best the township could get, trustee Jeff Ferrell said. Two companies bid and "no other company would touch us."

The two bidders were Aetna and United Healthcare. Trustees approved a resolution to go with Aetna, conditional on Aetna's bid being cheaper than United Healthcare's. Township employees are more familiar with Aetna, Ferrell said.

But the township, along with everyone else trying to function in tough times, needs to leave its comfort zone, and get creative with the options it seeks and considers.

Chief among the options to be considered is joining a larger insurance pool -- a bigger company, or more likely, a self-insurance pool with lots of members and lots of policy holders. The idea is familiar to anyone with a basic sense of business: Dilute the risk, and the costs of that risk, by spreading it as wide as possible.

One of the appealing aspects of Aetna, Ferrell said, is that it doesn't require policy holders to "shop around" as much for medical care. That's to be desired when you're looking for someone with whom to entrust your health, but when it comes to fiscal health, "shopping around" is precisely what Perkins Township needs to do.