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Commissioners ponder health insurance options

Staff writer

Marion County Commission discussed health insurance for the majority of the meeting Monday. The county has until June to renew insurance, a yearly requirement.

However, the commission is looking into different plans besides the current plan provided by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. This is because the county’s payments have increased over the past few years.

“It boils down to what is fair and equitable to tax payers,” Commissioner Roger Fleming said. “It has come to a point, are we getting the best value for dollars?”

Employees, especially with the road and bridge department, have been voicing concerns about the family plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The county pays $553 toward every health insurance plan, which covers a single plan with a $1,000 deductable. The family plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield costs $1,264, which forces employees to pay $711, if they want to add coverage for their families. Deputy County Clerk Tina Spencer said some employees chose a plan with a $1,500 deductable, but those employees still have to pay $662 to cover family members.

The Commission saw three presentations Monday. The first was Tim Ogelsby with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Keith Schrag, an insurance broker from Moundridge, provided the next presentation.

Schrag was offering plans from Preferred Health Insurance.

Schrag did not detail numbers of specific plans.

Laurence Kemp, another broker, was also offering plans from Preferred Health Insurance.

For a plan most similar to what the county already has, the county would pay $500 per employee. In the least expensive plan discussed, the county would pay $435 per employee.

Group Health Benefits was a broker that was unable to make the meeting. They submitted plans from Preferred and United Health Care.

New vehicle system

The county department of motor vehicles will be closed from May 1 to May 6 to install a new computer program.

County Treasurer Jeanine Bateman said the program will allow the six employees in the office to automatically send information to the state instantly. She said the information is mailed now.

Each employee will have a signature pad, scanner, and computer at desk.

“I don’t know if we have enough room,” Bateman said.

Clock tower

Custodian Mike Hurst told the commission that the clock tower roof was leaking profusely and even onto the clock mechanism.

“I caught six to eight gallons (of rainwater),” Hurst said.

He surmised that a floor pan below the bell in the tower, meant to catch water, was damaged and was causing the leak.

“A roofer might be able to take care of it,” Hurst said.

Commissioners said there were already plans to patch the roof this summer. Hurst recommended informing roofers of the catch pan to possibly have it fixed.

Wellness

Marion County Department on Aging Coordinator Gayla Ratzlaf talked to the commission about a wellness class, an informative class on healthy living and excerise at Parkside Homes in Hillsboro.

Ratzlaff is exploring grant opportunities to expand the class to Marion and Peabody.

Ratzlaff also said food commodities were coming in April. The Department on Aging receives produce from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and distributes it to senior citizens who meet income requirements.

Road and Bridge

The commission approved a fuel bid from Cooperative Grain and Supply for 11,000 totaling $28,170.

“That may have been the highest one we’ve had,” Crawford said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke asked what measures Crawford would take to save fuel. Crawford gave one suggestion of shutting down road graders to a two-day work week in summer.

Crawford also informed commissioners of a preconstruction meeting with Lafarge construction company for the overlaying of Tampa road at 1:30 p.m. today.

Last modified March 29, 2012

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