County health insurance provider up for grabs

·2 min read

Jun. 24—EAU CLAIRE — The county is requesting proposals in a bid to recruit a new health insurance vendor.

Eau Claire County will lose its health insurance provider at the end of the year. The county's current provider, WEA Trust, notified the county it would be pulling out of the Wisconsin market at the end of 2022.

The Wisconsin-based not-for-profit announced in an early June statement it would be terminating its health insurance market offerings.

"The challenges related to healthcare consolidation, the costs associated with the global pandemic, and the drop in the stock market have made it difficult for local, not-for-profit organizations like ours who seek to provide families with high value personal care," said Vaughn Vance, President and CEO of WEA, in the release.

Jessica McDonald, human resources Director for Eau Claire County, described the process of finding a new provider.

In order to recruit organizations and receive bid packages from potential vendors, the county published a request for proposal portal. "It basically describes what we are looking for in a carrier, what we are needing, and then providers can respond and submit bids," McDonald said.

The portal for vendors to apply remains open until August 9. The proposals will then be reviewed and scored by members of human resources as well as Norb Kirk, county finance director. Once the proposals are reviewed, Kirk said the county will seek interviews and, potentially, negotiations with the top few vendors.

McDonald said Friday 14 vendors have submitted proposals. However, she noted that there appear to be a few duplicates.

"Just for a little context for the committee, a couple of years ago we did this (and) we got one. And that was WEA Trust," Kirk said.

County Supervisor Judy Gatlin proposed a question to the committee about the transition process, specifically for employees that have pre-existing health conditions. Dawn Edlin, benefits coordinator for the HR department, offered the committee more insight into those operations.

Edlin said that WEA has been preparing reports of documents and claims that need to be provided for potential vendors.

"WEA is completely cooperating with us in our transition to a new carrier," Edlin said.