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UPDATE: Smith County commissioners vote on health care plan

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 5:24pm

SMITH COUNTY-- Smith County commissioners spent the last two weeks discussing what Obamacare means for the county's health insurance plans. 

Healthfirst insures the more than 800 Smith County workers.

CEO Tom Slack tells commissioners the best solution to Obamacare: stay under a Grandfather Plan, which commissioners voted to do this morning.

Any group insurance plan that was already there before President Obama signed the Health Care Plan into law is eligible for Grandfathered Status, according to one government website.  It means some of the Health Care Plan won't apply to them.   Commissioner Jeff Warr says, "I haven't seen anything yet that's going to lower healthcare costs for anybody in the U.S."

However, under the Grandfather Plan, the county still has to comply with some of the Health Care Plan.  For example, the county can no longer put a maximum lifetime limit on healthcare for county workers. Smith County Commissioner Warr fears this could bankrupt the county.  "How much money do you have to put aside then for those one or two catastrophic events where we may be paying an employee's health insurance for the rest of their lives?"

Warr says,"It's like flying a plane in bad weather with no instruments. The government hasn't made any rulings on what to implement and when to implement it."

The county will have to drop Grandfathered Status by 2014, when the Health Care Plan goes into full-effect.

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