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City of Salmon, ID

06/05/2019 | Press release | Archived content

EXTRA CARE INCLUDED

The Idaho Independent Intergovernmental Authority (III-A) was founded seven years ago as a Trust by a group of Idaho cities. Its goal is to help agencies, such as cities, afford the best benefits it can offer to employees as well as stability in insurance rate increases. The City of Salmon joined the self-funded health insurance pool last October 1st by way of a Joint Powers Agreement.

At its June 5th meeting III-A Executive Director Amy Manning presented the Salmon City Council with an annual financial report along with the Trust's history as well as her own.

The Trust pool includes various districts from around the state and 34 of the agencies are cities.

She said that not every Joint Powers application is accepted. Manning explained that a risk assessment is done on each applicant before a determination is made since the purpose of the program is to have a solid pool of resources. Some applicants have successfully re-applied after resolving the risks that prevented initial acceptance.

She said a few of the agencies have added dental and vision benefits to their coverage and as of last October 1st wellness colonoscopies and mammogram screenings became available as well as coverage for up to 100 acupuncture visits. Manning said the money saved from early diagnosis outweighs initial costs and the philosophy behind the acupuncture coverage is to offer an alternative to pain management that doesn't deal with opioids. She also outlined insurance pool benefits involving physical therapy, morbid obesity, medically necessary breast reductions, help with hearing aid costs and air ambulance services.

Manning was an American Falls City Councilor for ten years and its mayor for seven years which she said gives her a thorough understanding of city budgets and employee insurance costs. She is one of the founders of the III-A trust program which as of September 30, 2017 numbered 38 agencies, covering 610 full time employees. Their financial statement net position on that date was $5.4 million which was a 31 percent increase from the previous year.

The financial status on September 30, 2018 showed an additional seven agencies, covering 729 full time employees and a net position $5.7 million. The four percent increase was in spite of the repayment of a significant amount of up-front reserve monies. Manning said 2018 financial figures were so good a decision was made to reimburse the almost $600,000 reserve funding in full.

Manning said the Trust has added another five agencies and an additional 109 employees as of October 1st 2018.

As of the day of the report to the council Manning said III-A pool is at 950 employees, which with dependents equates to 2400 lives, so the Trust's recent change of pharmacy affiliation was huge but has turned out well. They are now with ProAct Inc., and getting better 24/7 customer service at lower drug costs. She said the change has resulted in a savings of $30,000 per month.

The III-A has a budget of $13.1 million for this year and since it is unable to use one of the two state-required catastrophic insurance policies it was able to get a legislative waiver on the unusable one.

As to future benefits of III-A there will be local city employee on-site wellness programs and on-site screenings with nurse practitioners. A Health Coach will also be available. Manning promised health care to city employees throughout the year as well as special attention where needed.