Carlos Aponte wants to clear the air. This comes after questions arose over how much the county was paying him in commission costs per employee on the county’s health insurance plan.
According to several regional insurance brokers, the industry standard for managing a group as large as the size of Jefferson County ranges from $15 to $18 per person. Aponte’s commission dues fall within that range.
“When we first took over Jefferson county in 2005, we actually changed their commission from a percentage to a flat per employee per month fee,” said Aponte. ” It has not changed since 2005 and based off all the information we’ve received form the top carriers in the state, we’re within the ranges of what an average commission is paid for a group this size.”
Occasionally, brokers will undercut that price to gain more business. That’s what started the questioning in the first place as nearby counties do pay lower commission rates to their respective brokers. However, Jefferson County has had good experiences with Aponte so far, as financial figures show he’s saved the county a lot of money by structuring a somewhat unique partially self-funded health insurance plan.
Aponte says partially self-funded plans are different from regular plans as some of the money goes into a community trust fund.
“And in a nutshell what that really means is that the years that the county experiences low claims on their employees medical insurance claims, they actually get to keep some of those reserves for the county,” said Aponte.
The reserve money can then roll over from year to year rather than getting lost to an insurance company’s bottom line. Aponte has several spread sheets showing that Jefferson County consistently saves hundreds of thousands of dollars from year-to-year compared to other counties of similar size. That’s why county leaders said in a recent commissioner meeting that they’re open to bids, but they would have to be very competitive, as they’ve come to trust Aponte and his suggestions.