Health

Fargo Explores Contraceptive Options in Employee Care Plan – InForum

Fargo Explores Contraceptive Options in Employee Care Plan – InForum
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FARGO — Birth control coverage may soon be available to City of Fargo employees through proposed changes to employee health plan options.

City commissioners received an updated assessment of options for the city’s health care plan on Tuesday, Sept. 6, after the idea to cover contraceptives was put forward by Commissioner John Strand in July.

Many residents spoke at Tuesday’s meeting for adding contraceptive coverage options to the city’s health plan.

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The North Dakota AFL-CIO, a federation of local unions, called for this change, calling on workers who support this plan to occupy the seats at the assembly “in solidarity with city workers as they demand contraceptive coverage in their homes.” health insurance. plans,” a statement said.

“Fargo is the only city in the three-city metro that doesn’t cover birth control,” said Amber Emery, a 13-year-old Fargo Public Library employee, as she read from a letter from herself and some of her colleagues. “What I’m asking today is to make my daughter’s life and my life a little better by providing this.”

Both West Fargo and Moorhead currently have contraceptive coverage included in their health insurance plans, according to a memorandum released by Strand and Commissioner Arlette Preston.

“It would just show how much the city as an employer values ​​all the employees here,” said Whitney Oxendahl, a former library board member who pointed out that the improved insurance could help retain employees.

Jill Minette, director of human resources at Fargo, presented the Commission’s options for the health care plan that goes into effect next year.

Adding birth control coverage would force the city to change its grandfathering plan, which didn’t have to change after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010.

A new plan, which would incur additional city and staffing costs, would provide workers with additional health care options under the modern health care standard set forth in the ACA.

“Our plan has become grandfathered because key provisions of the plan have remained the same,” Menette said. “We are exploring the possibility of offering a non-grandfather plan in addition to the grandfather plan.”

When a new health plan is added, employees will have the option to enroll in both plans based on their coverage needs and the premium level that best suits them and their families.

“I like the idea of ​​options for our employees,” Minette said.

Added costs to the taxpayer and additional cost premiums are also being considered.

Blue Cross-Blue Shield (BCBS) preliminary renewal information for 2023 includes a 4.8% premium increase for the grandfather plan.

A non-grandfather plan would add an additional 1.5% premium increase.

The benefit of paying that 1.5% premium increase this year, according to Mayor Tim Mahoney, is that employees get 100% coverage for preventive care.

Mahoney said the non-grandfather plan would be a popular option for employees, despite the premium increase due to the overall savings with preventive care coverage, and mentioned that the plan would cover colonoscopies.

According to Mahoney, Fargo could submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new health plan next year.

“I suspect that when the industry feels that one of the biggest players out there … needs change … they will sharpen their pencils and come to us,” Strand said.

The meeting with BCBS to discuss possible birth control options in a new plan will take place next week, Menette said.

Fargo will present a proposed plan on the city’s health care plan options to the Commission later this month, with information sessions for employees in October.

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