The Chatham County Commission is looking into helping county employees get healthy while saving taxpayers money. Chatham County commissioners hired a health plan consultant to basically study how healthy the county employees are.
"Some of the numbers are really quite alarming," said Joe Marlowe, the county's health plan consultant. "I base these numbers on my experience in looking at many many different employer groups, and I can tell you that your health profile is on the extreme edge."
The company screened about 1,200 of the county's 1,600 employees. One of the findings, 79 percent are overweight or obese, statistics that may be costing the county about $20 million in premiums a year.
So along with the study, the county is examining the possibility of a health care clinic for county employees that could help lower insurance premiums with early diagnosis and few ER visits.
"We cant afford not to do this. We simply cannot afford to stay on the same trajectory unless we want to take taxpayers in our claims and our premiums," says District 1 Commissioner Helen Stone.
About nine companies submitted a bid and were ranked based on plans and prices, some guaranteeing more than $1 million in savings. Some commissioners, however, need that in writing.
"If we move forward with this concept, I would hope that there would be a clause in any contract that we sign that says we guarantee this amount of money in savings," says District 6 Commissioner Lori Brady.
The Commission voted to move foward with the consultant's recommendation. No final decisions have been made yet.
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