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Ambulance added to county health plan

Lincoln County Supervisors bought into a medical transportation membership plan Monday that could potentially save its employees thousands of dollars following a health emergency.

The board voted unanimously to pay slightly more than $12,000 to purchase a yearly membership from MASA Medical Transport Solutions, which is based out of Southlake, Texas, after hearing a pitch by field agent Rhonda Clifton.

The benefit will be offered to full-time employees as a supplement to the county’s United Healthcare insurance plan at no additional cost. The membership will cost the county $99 annually, or $9 a month, for each employee already insured through United.

The county has about 130 full time employees who will be covered by the plan.

For that membership, county employees and anyone else in their household will be covered for any additional charge for ground or air emergency transportation costs not paid by United, Clifton said. The employees’ memberships also includes anyone using an employee’s address as a primary place of residence such as a college student.

Sylvia King, a Brookhaven insurance agent representing the Lincoln County Supervisors, recommended MASA to the board.

Clifton said MASA will pay the difference between what the employees’ county-enrolled insurance covers for emergency medical transport and the actually cost of the service, which can run between a few thousand dollars for ground ambulance up to $30,000 for air transport. The membership pays the out-of-pocket transportation costs for the employee, who is covered in all 50 states, she said.

Supervisors were skeptical of Clifton’s too-good-to-be-true plan. “I don’t see how you stay in business,” District 2 Supervisor Nolan Williamson said.

“We bank on nobody ever using it,” she told him.

MASA only pays for transportation for medical emergencies. “You can’t say ‘I’ve got the flu, fly me to Jackson,’” King said. “That’s not an emergency.”

The plan will start immediately upon receipt of payment, Clifton said. County administrator David Fields will notify employees of the additional benefit and the terms associated with it.

In other business, supervisors:

• Accepted a bid from Trustmark Bank for a bond of up to $200,000 at 2.6 percent interest to purchase about 44 acres for a gravel pit. Trustmark offered the lone bid for the bond.

• Voted to close the Lincoln County Government Complex Dec. 26 for the Christmas holiday.

• Lifted the burn ban in the county based on a recommendation by Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey, who is also the county’s fire coordinator.

• Set a deadline of Thursday at 10 a.m. for the public to place items on the agenda to be heard at the board meeting on the following Monday, based on a recommendation by Lincoln County Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop.

• Voted to meet Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the county’s  docket of claims for the month of November.