Commissioners consider health insurance increase

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By AMBER WARD
(WARRENSBURG, Mo., digitalBURG) — The Johnson County Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss future health care options for their employees but ended up postponing the decision.
Lisa Shore, human resources director, and Jeanie Cunningham of Mike Keith Insurance, Inc. presented their proposal to the commissioners.
Shore said she estimates there will be a 12 percent increase in employee claims from 2014 to 2015.
“The ‘claims’ is the variable,” she said. “If this year goes like I anticipated, I think that we can have easily close to $70,000 in our reserves.”
Shore said even though sometimes they have claims of $70,000 during a month and people max out their deductible, as long as commissioners plan for it within the budget they should come out under budget.
Shore said they must anticipate a high amount in claims is because medical care costs are rising.
Bill Gabel, presiding commissioner, said the rising costs of health care is a problem.
“That’s what bothers me,” Gabel said. “I think we have good health care, and after you’ve had a good health care plan for a long time, some of these problems should be behind us.”
Shore said she is budgeting for possible increases in costs.
“We have to plan for the current trend in health care rises and the current trend is reflecting that 12 percent increase,” she said.
Shore said the commission should consider a 5 percent increase in the county’s health care budget, which would be put into the General Revenue Commission Administration account to cover possible catastrophic claim expenses.
“Just because it’s budgeted, doesn’t mean it’s going to be spent,” she said. “As you can see, we’re still only putting in there what we need to put in there. But we have that money set aside in case we go over.”
“That’s a dramatic increase,” Gabel said.
Shore said the 5 percentage increase would total $44,245.
Health insurance cost county employees $465.66 per month. Shore estimates that the cost will increase to $512.23 per month next year.
Gabel suggested taking that $46 difference per month, instead of the 5 percent budget increase, and putting it in the budget and creating a higher deductible.
Shore said a higher deductible would not work for the employees because many of them have not received a raise since 2010 and the cost of living is increasing.
Gabel asked how many people have actually used their deductible.
Cunningham said she and Shore would investigate this and come back with the data.
Gabel said he and his fellow commissioners, Destry Hough and Scott Sader, will consider the proposal and get back with Shore at a later date.
The commission must notify their employees by November of any decisions made that affect their insurance.