Springdale's director of human resources Gina Kincy says the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act sent the city looking for ways to save on insurance.
"There are many changes, some of them we don't even know about yet," Kincy says. "It changes pretty much daily."
Kincy says the city pays 70 percent of premiums, with employees covering the difference, but a new high-deductible health plan gives them a chance to save on the monthly expense.
"We've had the traditional preferred provider organization and this year we're offering an option," she says. "Both plans are different in how they're managed and administered, and what they pay, so it just depends on the person's health issues."
Jerry Duncan, the regional market manager of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, says employees can put money into a tax free health savings account to pay for medical care, but doctor visits, or prescriptions are paid for out of pocket until members hit the higher deductible.
"It's a great option to give people very good coverage, especially catastrophic coverage, but pay us a smaller dollar amount for it," he says. "The health savings account is a good option to allow people that may not be able to afford a standard health plan."
Duncan says 85-90 percent of Northwest Arkansas' large employers are considering the high deductible option.
"They're very popular right now," he says. "Healthcare... the cost continues to rise, and it's a major part of most employers bottom lines, and they recognize its also a burden... on their employees and they're looking for a solution."