September 26, 2022
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Fargo explores contraceptive options in employee health care plan – InForum

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FARGO — Contraception coverage may soon be available to City of Fargo employees through proposed changes to employee health plan options.

City commissioners received an updated review of the city’s health care plan options on Tuesday, Sept. 6, after the idea to cover contraceptives was

put forward by Commissioner John Strand

back in July.

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

Rallying for this change, the North Dakota AFL-CIO, a federation comprised of local unions, put out a call for workers supportive of this plan to fill seats at the meeting “in solidarity with city workers as they demand contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plan,” according to a statement.

“Fargo is the only city in the tri-city metro not to cover contraceptives,” said Amber Emery, a 13 year employee of the Fargo Public Library, reading from a letter from herself and some of her coworkers. “What I’m asking for today is to help make my daughter’s life and my life a little bit better by providing this.”

Both West Fargo and Moorhead currently have contraception 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 the enhanced insurance may help retain employees.

Jill Minette, Fargo’s director of human resources, laid out options to the Commission for the health care plan moving forward into next year.

Adding contraceptive coverage would force the city to change its grandfathered plan, which was not required to change after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010.

A new plan, which would incur additional city and employee expenses, would grant employees additional health care options under the modern standard for health care, outlined in the ACA.

“Our plan is grandfathered because major provisions of the plan have remained the same,” Menette said. “We are exploring the option of offering a non-grandfathered plan in addition to the grandfathered plan.”

If a new health care plan is added, employees would have the option to enroll in either plan based on their coverage needs and the premium level that best suits them and their family.

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

Added cost to the taxpayer and added cost premiums is also considered.

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

A non-grandfathered 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 would get 100% coverage for preventive care.

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

Fargo could put out a request for proposal (RFP) for a new health plan next year, according to Mahoney.

“I would guess that the industry, when they sense that one of the biggest players out there… is needing change… they will sharpen their pencils and come to us,” Strand said.

The meeting with BCBS to detail out the potential contraceptive options involved in a new plan will occur next week, Menette said.

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





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