FARMINGTON — San Juan College faculty and staff will see a small rise in health care costs as the college changes benefits providers in the new financial year.

Members of the college board approved new contracts for employee health insurance, dental, vision, life insurance and short/long term disability benefits at their board meeting on April 1.

Benefits Manager Sherrie Biringer said Presbyterian Healthcare Services will handle health insurance starting July 1 as the company takes over for current provider Blue Cross Blue Shield.

For those making less than $60,000 annually, a single employee on an HMO plan will see about a $21 monthly increase while family coverage on a HMO plan will increase about $62 monthly.

Russell Litke, vice president for Administrative Services, said the college will see an increase of about $960,000 for its share of employee health benefits for the 2014-2015 school year.

Litke said the college is projecting about $5,960,000 in health insurance costs for the upcoming school year, about 10 percent of the school's $59 million preliminary budget.

Lower cost and similar network coverage led to the selection of Presbyterian over Blue Cross Blue Shield, which also submitted a bid for health insurance coverage, Litke and Biringer said.

"We were striving to make sure as we reviewed these two different plans that came in, we were keeping it as close as possible to what the employees are used to and what they had," Biringer said.

Litke said going with Presbyterian will save the college an estimated $255,000 during its 18-month contract.

Presbyterian's contract guarantees its rate during the 18-month contract while Blue Cross Blue Shield's rate allowed increases in January and July 2015.

"We were looking at an increase in January at a minimum of 3.5 percent for (Affordable Care Act) increases," Biringer said.

Dental insurance will switch to Delta Dental from United Concordia, Mutual of Omaha will handle life and disability insurance instead of Lincoln Financial Group and vision insurance will stay with Vision Service Plan (VSP).

Dental insurance costs will remain virtually the same while vision plans will have small increases. The largest monthly increase for vision is $4.22.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636. Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.