Ishpeming saves money by changing employee health care

Ishpeming municipal employees now have a change in their health care coverage that will save the city money.

The unions representing public works employees, clerical workers, supervisors and the police department will stay with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Their coverage will now come from the Blue Care Network HMO, one of the four health care options that the unions considered.

“We couldn’t renew with the existing plan; it would have been exorbitantly expensive,” Ishpeming city manager Mark Slown said. “No one wanted that, so this is a reasonable option, and I want to thank the unions for their cooperation in reaching the agreement.”

The switch will save the city about $10,000 per year. Employees will have higher co-pays, but the city was willing to help by covering a small cost that previously fell to the workers.

“The two-person policy would be an extra $4 (per month) that the employees would have had to pay,” Slown said. “Since the city is going to be saving money on this, we were able to take some of that savings and pay that down.”

The Ishpeming City Council approved the proposed change at a special meeting this morning. Each of the unions agreed to the insurance change ahead of time.