Sunbury Village Council has begun its search for a new health-insurance provider.

Sunbury Village Council has begun its search for a new health-insurance provider.

Similar to a job application process, council interviewed four different insurance providers at its meeting Wednesday, Sept. 3, to identify the best choice for the village.

Representatives of Burnham and Flower Insurance Group, ClearPath Benefit Advisors, HR Butler and TAH Benefits each gave short presentations about why their company is the best fit for Sunbury and answered questions from council members. Each representative had 15 minutes allotted for the presentation and questions.

Currently, the village works with HR Butler and has used its services for the past three years. The contract with HR Butler ends Dec. 31.

Council switched health-care providers from Medical Mutual to UnitedHealthcare Services Inc. at the beginning of this year in order to comply with the Affordable Care Act and reduce costs to village employees. The village pays $302,779 for coverage for about 21 of its 27 employees.

The switch was a 28 percent cost decrease from its previous plan and saved the village more than $100,000, officials said.

Council wants to keep similar benefits for its employees but also find a company that will stay up-to-date with the village's account, members said.

"I want a partner that is proactive and not someone that we have to engage with and say, 'Hey, we're coming up on this, why don't you come talk to us about it?' " Councilman Scott Weatherby said.

Weatherby also said he wants a company that can provide a wellness plan for employees with minimal fees.

"That is the wave of health care in the future. You've got to take care of yourself. The costs are already being shifted to us as associates or employees," Weatherby said. "I think it would be good of us to think this through and actually find a partner that will do that with us."

Council President Len Weatherby pointed out that a wellness plan is client-driven and requires dedicated participants.

"I think a wellness program is what you make it," he said. "You, as the client, have to take a very active role in it."

Scott Weatherby added that the village could save money in the long term if employees are engaged and healthy.

"There is data that you can save money by having healthier associates and healthier employees," he said.

Council will respond to two companies and ask them to return with a second presentation with rates and prices at its next meeting.

Sunbury Village Council meets next at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at Town Hall, 9 E. Granville St.