MARINETTE — Marinette County is going to switch to another health insurance carrier for its employees after the end of this year, County Administrator John Lefebvre told the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. 

The county board voted at a special meeting Sept. 27 to authorize Human Services Director Jennifer Holtger to “negotiate, establish and enter into an agreement for a 2019 self-insured health and dental insurance subject to the approval of Lefebvre and Corporation Counsel Gale Mattison.”

“I don’t have a lot to report, but I do have some significant stuff to report,” Lefebvre told the board Tuesday. “The significant thing is that we have given our notice to Group Health Trust (GHT) that we are not going to continue our contract with them into 2019.

“We have secured a contract with Anthem to provide health insurance for us. That is who we are currently working with.”

Lefebvre said GHT initially proposed to increase its health insurance cost to Marinette County by 13.5 percent in 2019 and later made a counter-offer to reduce that by 2 percent.

“HR is working very diligently on this day and night,” he said. “They are working very hard to make this happen in a very short period of time.

“We are shooting for having cards in people’s hands by the middle of December. That is a very difficult task ahead of us, but I believe we are on track and I do not believe there should be any issues with it.”

Lefebvre said the county also has some benefits promised to retirees that it has to deal with.

“In essence we will have a county plan that will enable employees to get into two different networks,” he explained. “One is called the priority network and one is the preferred network.

“The networks are slightly different based upon the types of physicians or services that you would be looking to get through your health insurance. So there is the possibility for employees to pick what their provider is going to be.”

He said the county is also dealing with who it is going to contract with for dental and vision insurance.

“Vision was in our medical plan and there are advantages to moving vision out of our medical plan,” Lefebvre said. “GHT is no longer going to be our dental company.”

“There is a lot going on from the standpoint of the insurance and we’ve sent the information out to the employees to actually select a provider. We’re going into this maintaining all of the same plan benefits that the employees had this year going into next year.”

Supervisor Gail Wanek asked Lefebvre what the differences are between the two provider networks in the new plan will be.

“One provider gives us a much cheaper service price,” he said. “That would be what we call priority and would include Bellin and Aurora.

“The other one would include St. Vincent and St. Mary’s hospitals.”

Wanek asked which provider network plan would be the most expensive?

“If you go with priority that is the cheaper plan for us,” Lefebvre said. “That is the more reasonable plan for the employees.

“The other plan goes throughout the whole state of Wisconsin, not just in our area. There’s a lot more to it than just the local (providers).”