Centre County (PA)

How Benecon & the PA Counties Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperative provided stable cost savings and superior service.


In 2017 Centre County sent out a Request for Proposal for medical and prescription benefits. At that time, the County was working with another broker and was fully-insured with Capital Blue Cross. Benecon responded to the RFP on behalf of the Pennsylvania County Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperative (PCHIPC). Benecon was chosen as a finalist and asked to present the PCHIPC model to the Employee Benefits Trust committee, all three Commissioners are members of this committee, as well as the County Administrator and the County Controller. When it appeared that the County would be choosing the PCHIPC program, Capital Blue Cross proposed a 0% increase with a rate cap of 13% for the following two years.

The County ultimately decided to stay with Capital Blue Cross as its administrator but to join the PCHIPC program with its unique self-funding model in order to gain control of its healthcare costs.

Implementation into the PCHIPC program went smoothly, except for receiving new ID cards, the employees felt no impact as their plan design and provider network did not change.

Over the next three years Benecon’s Actuarial team modeled out the savings for the County with PCHIPC over the assumed pricing it would have received if it had stayed with the fully-insured model. Assuming the 13% rate cap would have been given each year, the first three years in the cooperative the County realized an estimated savings of over 3 million dollars with a three year average rate increase of just over 7%.

In its second year in the PCHIPC program Benecon provided estimated costs for the County to eliminate its HRA and to change its deductible. The change was implemented and the County no longer has that extra layer of self-funding through the HRA and is saving on administrative costs.

By joining PCHIPC, Centre County enjoys the safety, stability and savings that was not afforded them in the fully-insured environment it had previously.

This is what Margaret Gray, County Administrator of Centre County has to say about the PCHIPC program:

“Centre County Government moved from a fully insured health care insurance model to Benecon’s self-funded county consortium in 2018.  For the past three years, Centre County has realized lower health care premium increases and received significant savings due to the Benecon structure of returning funds to the County that exceed actual claims.  Benecon’s excellent service and support have contributed to the success of this self-funded program and they serve as our partner to keep insurance costs as low as possible.  We recognize that in any year claims could exceed our contributions, but on the whole this model is a great, stable cost savings approach to the provision of health care insurance coverage that significantly benefits the County and its employees.”