County to look at health insurance options

Staff reporter

The cost of health insurance premiums will increase more than seven percent for Marion County.

Tim Oglesby of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas told Marion County Commission Feb. 19, that the increase wasn't as much as it could be, considering the "experience" rating of the employees.

The rating is based on the amount of claims paid out by the insurance company compared with the amount of premiums it collects.

Currently the county has a negative status with the insurance company which means the insurance company has paid out more in health care costs than the amount set aside from the county's premiums for those costs.

A triple option plan was presented to the commission where the county could provide a higher deductible to employees and the employees would have the option of paying more for a lower deductible.

The three options are the current deductibles of $500 for individuals and $1,000 for family for $444 the employee/individual and $983 for family coverage that the employee would pay per month, with the county paying the individual or employee's portion; a $1,000 deductible for individuals and $2,000 for families at $421 per employee and $935 for family coverage; or a $1,500 deductible for single coverage and $3,000 for family at a cost of $403 and $896 per month.

Oglesby said most counties are providing option three with the higher deductible to employees.

A decision must be made by the commission in March.

The benefits will remain the same with 80/20 percent co-insurance, $5 million lifetime limitation, insurance for unmarried dependents to age 23, office co-pay, and other benefits.

The dental and drug premiums also would remain the same.

In other business:

— Communications director Michele Abbott-Becker reported that the suspended ceiling in the dispatch room had collapsed. A local plumber had inspected the drainage pipes on the roof but determined the roof drains become plugged when rain and snow becomes frozen, causing the interior ceilings to collapse.

A similar situation also had occurred in the hallways of the jail.

No damage occurred to the equipment but Abbott-Becker was concerned about the situation. The commission decided to have Wray Roofing inspect the situation.

— The commission reviewed the budget for the department for elderly. It was discussed whether the two vans, now owned by the county, were fully utilized.

Commissioner Randy Dallke stated that Peabody Senior Center owned a vehicle and asked if any other senior citizen center had a vehicle to use. The response was no.

Dallke asked if the Marion Senior Center was providing a service that no other center provided, having two vans available through that senior center. Commission chairman Bob Hein said he thought the vans were available to all county residents.

— Resignations were accepted from Gene West as Marion County representative to North-Central Area Agency on Aging and a board member of Marion County Fire District #1. Wanda West also resigned as a District I representative of the board of directors of Senior Citizens of Marion County, Inc.

— County clerk Carol Maggard reported that the county position description classification committee had met and reviewed a pesticide operator position with the noxious weed department and the attorney secretary position.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he had noticed a significant difference between secretarial positions in different county departments.

Maggard said that some position descriptions appear to be similar but may have different responsibilities.

The commission agreed to have the descriptions sent to the League of Kansas Municipalities for review and comparison with other counties.

— Cash on hand at the end of January was $9,797,342 which was an increase from $8,503,958 for the same time period in 2007.

Of those funds, $2,941,907 was in the county general and $1,683,159 was in the road and bridge budget.

— Abbott-Becker requested and received a five-minute executive session to discuss personnel. The meeting reconvened with no action.

— Sheriff Lee Becker requested and received permission to order two new light bars for the two new department vehicles.