Health Insurance Costs For County Workers

A decsion is pending on whether Cass County will have employees pay part of their health insurance premiums. Cass County Commissioners basically said there is no good answer.

“How much can the employee withstand?” asked District 5 Commissioner Ron Nolte whose next words were “How much can the taxpayer withstand?”

The Cassgram reports Cass County has already decided on the Healthcare United insurance plan for 2010-11 and it involves increases in all co-pays for employees. (archives 5/21/10)

If the county pays the full premium increase—about 17%—“major cuts” loom elsewhere in the budget, said District 3 Commissioner Jim Peterson. If employee contributions reduce the increase to 9% for the county, it wasn’t so much the $50 a month for single payers that concerned Peterson but the $135 a month a family would pay.

Board Chairman Jim Engelkemier said if something isn’t changed, then “next year it’s the same scenario.”

The board learned there were three replies to a request for proposals for wellness programs, something the board is looking into to try and reduce the high number of claims, the driving factor behind the increase in premium rates for the county plan.

Commissioners are still pondering how to get some employees committed to healthier lifestyles. District 1 Commissioner John Baroni said from the feedback he’s received, there wasn’t much interest in a wellness program even though commissioners had dangled the concept of voluntary participation in a county-paid wellness program as a way to reduce any employee out-of-pocket contributions.

Commissioners will revisit the issue June 15th.

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