Supervisors argue about health insurance

By Amanda McBride
The Choctaw Plaindealer

After a long, heated argument the Choctaw County Board of Supervisors
approved the Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance quote from
Weaver Insurance.

The vote was 3-2 with District 1 Supervisor Archie Collins and
District 3 Supervisor Chris McIntire voting against the motion.

Before the April 8 meeting, Weaver Insurance, of Ackerman, and
Gordman Insurance, of Columbus, both submitted health insurance
quotes from Blue Cross Blue Shield. The supervisors set the April 8
meeting to approve all of their insurance policies after companies
issued quotes from previous meetings.

Mike Hughes, with Weaver Insurance, addressed the board, in their
April 8 meeting, about why he was not chosen to provide the county’s
health insurance-when they had not voted on that yet.
Hughes said BCBS shut him out because Gordman Insurance had already
submitted all of the required paperwork without the supervisors’
approval.

“I received an email and I talked to Blue Cross Blue Shield that
Gordman has already submitted an application with the May 1 date and
your checking information,” said Hughes.

He also said it’s an “ethical problem” that both he and Gordman were
able to submit quotes from BCBS. Hughes added that is a problem he
will address with BCBS.

“My issue with the board is that I would like to be agent of record
instead of someone from Lowndes County,” said Hughes.

Supervisor Chris McIntire, also board president, said earlier that
week, he signed a paper with BCBS, that he thought was only for BCBS
to give them a firm quote not just an estimate. He said that the
employee from BCBS told him that the paper did not bind the county to
anything.
“What you’re telling me is different from what I was told on Friday,”
said McIntire to Hughes.

Steve Wright, board attorney, stepped in and said he talked to the
same BCBS employee that McIntire did and that the employee told him
the same thing and played a voicemail from that employee.

The paper that McIntire signed from BCBS locked Hughes out of their
system.

The supervisors discussed whether or not McIntire had authority to
sign the paper or not.

“Do ya’ll give me the authority to sign everything I sign? No. But as
board president you do,” said McIntire.

They began discussing the differences between the quotes from Hughes
and Gordman when Alan Gordman, with Gordman Insurance, stepped up.

“Numbers vary, it doesn’t matter who’s numbers are higher or lower on
that piece of paper,” said Gordman.

Both are estimated quotes until BCBS goes through the underwriting
process. The challenge was for the board to choose an agent of
record, not the final numbers from BCBS.

Gordman continued, “We didn’t do anything unethical getting that form
signed. The board has ultimate control. You can change the agent of
record.”

After more debate, McIntire asked the board, “What are the wishes of
the board.”

They discussed possibly going with a gap plan when Supervisor Archie
Collins made a motion to approve Option 1 with Gordman, stating, “If
we want to change the agent of record later, we can.”

Then Supervisor Eric Chambers began to make a motion when Collins
reminded him that he has a motion on the table.

McIntire then called for a second to Collins’ motion. It died without
a second.

Chambers then made the motion make Weaver Insurance agent of record
based on the highlighted figure on their quote.
McIntire said the board needs to vote on a deductible and agent of
record.

Supervisor David Carter seconded Chambers motion. It was approved
3-2. Supervisors Chambers, Carter and Larry McClain voted for it.
Supervisors Collins and McIntire voted against the motion.