WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Starting on July 1, Warner Robins city employees and their families will pay more for co-pays and brand-name prescriptions.
Monday night, council voted 4-2 to approve the increase, with council members Mike Davis and Daron Lee voting against it. Both felt it wasn't right to save city money "on the backs of the employees."
The city's insurance committee recommended the spike in cost, which will raise retail brand-name prescriptions from $25 to $50. The cost of mail-order brand-name prescriptions will also jump, up to $75 from $30.
Co-pays will also increase on trips to the emergency room and the doctor's office. Trips to the ER will come with a $100 co-pay and a doctor visit will cost employees $20.
Councilman Mike Daley, who's on the insurance committee, says they hope to shift the habits of the city's 500 plus employees to buying the cheaper, generic drugs.
He said last year alone, employees and their dependents purchased 19,000 prescriptions.
"We have about 69% of our employees that purchase generic and we have 31% who purchase the brand-name," says Daley. "We're putting that against an industry benchmark of 80% generic and 20% brand-name. If we can just change their mindset, and again—we're hoping that this will change mindsets, because there will be a little more cost involved and push people more to the generic drugs."
Daley said the city spent $7 million on health care last year, and this year, the cost is set to rise 7%. He expects Monday's vote to save the city nearly $200,000.
As for people who can only take brand-name prescriptions for health reasons, he says the city will help them foot the bill on a case-by-case basis.
Old Gun Law Repealed
Council voted unanimously to repeal a hardly enforced city law that's been on the books since 1957.
The law required gun dealers to report all sales to the city on a weekly basis, but council members said Monday night they'd never heard of anyone enforcing that law, and all six council members voted to get rid of it.
Changes for Video Gaming Machines
Council also approved two changes to the city's coin-operated, video gaming machine ordinance.
The maximum number of machines allowed in one business will drop from nine to six, and the date on which businesses are to report their monthly earnings to the city will change from the 5th of the month to the 20th.