Tropical Storm Debby -
Our area continues to be under coastal flooding and high surf advisories, as
well as flood and tornado watches as a result of Tropical Storm Debby. Showers and thunderstorms will
continue throughout the day with strong and gusty winds. City crews are actively responding to the
changing weather conditions, including debris cleanup and monitoring of street flooding. For each
employee who is assigned to work specifically on emergency protective measures (Category B) – please
use the daily log located atto track hours. Project code DEBB12 has been set up to
track expenses for Tropical Storm Debby. Please remember to include this project code on paperwork
for any materials used and/or labor worked related to this storm. Although this storm may not be a
declared disaster, it is easier to maintain records from the beginning rather than recreate them.
Police Chief presided over a meeting of the Southwest Florida Police Chiefs Association. Colonel David Brierton, Commander of the Florida Highway Patrol, was the Association’s special guest. The Association also paid tribute to retiring Captain Denis Grealish of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation after more than 30 years of dedicated service to the citizens of Southwest Florida. The Support Services and Reserve Captains attended as well, along with law enforcement officials from across Southwest Florida.
EMPLOYEE BENEFIT Q&A - FISCAL YEAR 2013
HEALTH INSURANCE Q
Is the City still considering opening an employee health center, or offering free primary care
physician services through Millennium Physicians Group?
City Council, at their June 6, 2012 meeting, directed staff to put on hold, at least for the time being,
further considerations for opening a clinic or negotiating with Millennium Physicians Group.
I heard that the City will be paying for a different basic health insurance plan beginning October 1,
2012. Is that true? And if it is true, what are the big differences between the basic plan I have now and the new plan?
Yes, the City will be paying for a different basic health insurance plan beginning October 1, 2012.
The current plan is HMO 5. The new plan is HMO 042. The big differences between the two plans are as follows:
1. HMO 5 costs the same amount, $10, for a visit to any doctor, whether the doctor is a
specialist or primary care physician. Under HMO 042 (the new plan), the cost for a visit to your primary care physician will be $15. When you visit a specialist, like a cardiologist or oncologist, the cost will be $35.
2. Under HMO 5, outpatient surgery costs $100. With the new plan, HMO 042, the cost will be
3. If an employee goes into the hospital under the current plan, the cost is a flat fee of $250,
regardless of the length of time that you stay. With the new plan, it will cost $150 per day, with a maximum cost to the employee of $750, or five days’ stay. This does not mean you can only stay five days; it just means that the most you will pay for that stay is $750.
4. The prescription benefit is going to change under the new health insurance plan. Generic
drugs will increase in cost from $5 to $10 for a thirty-day supply. Name brand drugs that are not available in generic form will stay the same at $25 for the same thirty-day supply. If you take a drug that is in the non-preferred category, such as Nexium, or certain other so-called “life-style” drugs, the cost for those will be $60 for a thirty-day supply, and will have limitations on quantity. All prescriptions will still be available under the mail-order program, and you will be able to purchase a three-month supply and only pay for two months.
5. Certain supplies (syringes, test strips) for medications you inject yourself (insulin, Enbrel,
Humira for example) can be obtained through the DME provider and are free with our current health insurance plan. With the new plan you will purchase them through a network pharmacy and be charged $10, the same as a generic.
6. Under our current plan, any time you go to the doctor it will cost $10. Under the new plan,
visits that are considered preventive, or wellness, visits will cost nothing.
Is it true that the City is dropping one of the health insurance plans it currently offers? What plans
The City is dropping PPO 1748 for next year because only four employees used it. In addition to the
new HMO 042 that will be the City’s base health insurance plan, the City will continue to offer HMO 5 and PPO 702. A fourth plan will also be available. PPO 727 will be an alternative base plan and it is slightly less expensive than HMO 042.
How much does each plan cost?
The following table shows how much each level of coverage will cost per month for health
insurance. The City pays 100% of employee coverage at the HMO 042 rate. At this time, the City will pay 50% of dependent coverage at the HMO 042 rate, and the employee is responsible for the other 50%. You must add the SINGLE and DEPENDENT rates together to find out what the employee will pay per month for each level of coverage.
You refer to two new base plans I have never heard of: HMO 042 and PPO 727. I thought that the
new base plans were called HMO 15 and PPO 719. Which is which?
Blue Cross Blue Shield and Public Risk Management (PRM) made some changes in the way the
PRM plans are administered, requiring some new plan identification numbers. HMO 042 and PPO 727 are the updated plan numbers for HMO 15 and PPO 719.
How will this new HMO 042 affect the rates that I pay out of my check?
As you can see from the table above, the cheapest premium is PPO 727. The rate the employee will
pay for family coverage will be about $10 per month cheaper than what the employee currently pays for family coverage. If the employee elects to go with HMO 042, the cost will be about $2 per month less than what is currently taken out of the employee’s check for family coverage.
Will this new plan affect the doctors that my family and I are currently seeing?
The network of physicians for new base plan HMO 042 is the same as the network for the current
plan HMO 5. The network for PPO 702 and PPO 727 is the largest network Blue Cross Blue Shield offers, and extends to both PPO plans.
What are non-preferred drugs?
The quick answer is, “Whatever is the latest and greatest. . . .” That said, non-preferred drugs are
those that have a proven generic or name-brand equivalent that is much less expensive. The non-preferred list also includes so-called “life-style” drugs. Drugs for which there is no substitute, but are name-brand and very expensive will generally be on the preferred, or name-brand, list that is $25 per month. This includes custom compounds that are used to treat certain types of cancer. A complete Florida Medication Guide can be found at the following link: If you do not have access to a computer, please contact the Benefits Coordinator in Human Resources and you will receive assistance.
What will be the co-pays for durable medical equipment and advanced imaging procedures?
The durable medical equipment (DME) benefit under the new plan will remain basically the same.
The only major difference is that diabetic and supplies for self-administered injectable prescriptions will no longer be sold through the DME supplier; they will be available through a network pharmacy with a $10 co-pay. Advanced imaging procedures will remain the same as well.
Would you be able to put together a benefit comparison of the three plans that will be available to us
You can find a side-by-side comparison of all of the plans that will be available to City employees
October 1, 2012 by clicking on the following link:If you do not have access to a computer, please contact the Benefits Coordinator in Human Resources and you will receive assistance.
How will this new HMO 042 affect the rates if I want to stay with the current plan, HMO 5?
If an employee would like to buy up from the new base plan, HMO 042, the additional cost per
month will be: $27.44 for single coverage; $58.18 for employee plus family coverage; $53.14 for employee plus spouse; and, $50.72 for employee plus child(ren).
How do I go about deciding which plan is better for me?
For an employee who has family coverage and chooses to buy up from HMO 042 to HMO 5, the
annual cost difference between the two plans is almost $700. The main factors an employee will need to calculate and consider are:
1. How often do you go to a specialist physician (cardiologist, oncologist, etc.)? The difference
in cost under the new plan is $20 per visit.
2. How many prescriptions do you have, especially those that are non-preferred? Under the
new plan, generic drugs are $10 instead of $5. There is also a third level of cost for drugs that are in the non-preferred category. These will now cost $60 per month instead of $25. Refer to the Florida Medication Guide referenced above.
3. What are the chances that you will be hospitalized during the year? If you are hospitalized, it
could cost you an additional $500 per stay under the new base plan.
SICK LEAVE POLICY Q
I’m reading the new sick leave conversion to be a maximum of 16 hours. So if you took no sick time, you could only convert 16 hours to vacation or get paid. Is this correct?
Under the new policy that takes effect October 1, 2012, employees may use up to 16 hours of sick leave in a fiscal year. At the end of the year, if an employee has used 16 hours or less of sick leave, he/she may convert 16 hours of sick leave to vacation time. They are then eligible to keep the extra vacation time and use it during the course of the next year, or cash in 16 hours of leave. Conversion to sick leave escrow will no longer be an option. Also, employees should be aware that any use of sick leave, including leave that was previously protected under FMLA, will be included when calculating sick leave used. All hours that employees may currently hold in sick leave escrow will be converted to vacation escrow, and can be held until the employee needs the hours or separates from service with the City. Vacation escrow hours are not subject to the annual 120 hour carry-over limitation. The use of vacation escrow hours is much more flexible than sick escrow hours. Sick escrow hours may only be used for sick leave once an employee exhausts their annual accruals of sick and vacation leave. Vacation escrow hours may be used for any approved purpose once annual accruals of sick or vacation leave have been used up. Whatever is left in vacation escrow when an employee leaves the City will be paid out to them at that time.
GENERAL EMPLOYEE PENSION Q
How does the change to the General Employee Pension regarding to reducing my pension multiplier from 3.25% to 3.0% after age 60 affect me?
If you are considering working past age 60, the multiplier for those years will be reduced from 3.25% to 3.0%. If you retire at age 60, nothing changes.
I have heard that I might be offered the option to get out of the General Employee Pension. What’s that all about?
In response to requests from a few City employees, Council has directed staff to conduct a survey of General Employee Pension members to see how much interest there is in being able to withdraw from the pension. In the next couple of weeks, a survey and information regarding this option will be provided to pension members. If enough employees show an interest in withdrawing from the pension, the matter will be taken back to Council for discussion and further direction. At this time, the only action that is being taken is to conduct a survey to see how much interest exists among employees.
CONTACT HUMAN RESOURCES FOR FURTHER QUESTIONS OR INFORMATION
THYROID ASSESSMENT Hair tissue mineral analysis offers excellent information about thyroid activity and often very different information than blood tests. The hair assessment can be extremely helpful, especially in a common syndrome that one might call secondary hyperthyroidism. Most confusion arises because blood thyroid tests do not reveal much about thyroid physiology. Standard tests only
“Hou happie the redders o strow an strife, for they will be caa’d the childer o God!” God, it’s said, creâtit relígion sae’s the English wad hae something tae screive about, the Welsh something tae sing about, the Irish something tae fecht about, an the Scots – cuid hae something for naething! Aiblins it’s true, bit it seems a wee bit unfair on oor Irish fríen