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Officials ‘surprised’ by ’16 health plan

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners and the Harrison County Council financial planning committee met Monday evening in joint session to hear health insurance proposals from broker Mark Hamilton with Neace Lukens.
The news he brought was positive, compared to the doom and gloom predictions from earlier this year.
The group tentatively decided to switch from Humana to Anthem to give county government employees the best plan possible without raising the overall cost of insurance to the county. The commissioners are expected to officially vote on a plan Monday.
Just like this year, the county will pay 95 percent of the premium insurance cost while the employee will pick up 5 percent.
The annual deductible for an individual plan will go up from $250 to $1,000, or from $750 to $2,000 for a family.
The annual out-of-pocket maximum will increase from $1,000 to $3,000.
Prescription drug costs will move from a $10/$20/$30 tier plan to $10/$25/$40.
Employees also will be offered a ‘buy-up’ plan where they can pay more for a better plan.
‘I’m surprised how well it turned out,’ Commissioner George Ethridge said. ‘I was expecting worse.’
In 2014, the county experienced one of the worst years as far as claims and loss ratio that Hamilton said he had ever seen anywhere. Hamilton said the medical expense ratio was 245 percent.
‘It’s been kind of a rough year on health care,’ Hamilton said. ‘Large claims last year continuing to this year.’
To receive the same plan as last year with Humana, it would have been a 19-percent increase.
The Anthem plan will include a wellness program, but it will be on an individual basis not as a group, like the previous Humana plan.
Those employees who did not participate in the vitality plan this year will receive a penalty in the form of higher cost of insurance for next year.
The Affordable Care Act allows the employer to penalize those who did not participate (blue level) or those who only took the health assessment test (bronze) up to 30 percent of the insurance cost.
The county plans to charge blue level employees 20 percent and bronze 10 percent.
So, for an individual plan, the employee will be penalized $142.80 per month and $71.40, respectively.
A couple of employees at the blue level will be exempt because they were new hires and had no chance to participate.
The county will save more than $100,000 in insurance cost next year because of the penalized employees.
Auditor Karen Engleman said if no penalty was leveled, then they wouldn’t be able to get anything out of the employees ever again.
‘Everyone was given the same warning,’ Councilwoman Sherry Brown said. ‘I’m not going to feel sorry for them.’
Only seven employees fell into the blue level, meaning no participation, and will be charged the 20 percent hike.
In May, that figure was 102 employees.
Forty-five employees will be penalized at the bronze level.
The county saved more than $250,000 because of the high number, 72 percent (the county’s goal was 40 percent), of employees who reached at least a silver level.
‘Which is great,’ Hamilton said. ‘Humana was shocked. They (employees) made an effort.’
In 2013, the commissioners eliminated insurance for part-time elected officials, such as commissioners, councilmen and women, coroner and surveyor (the county does not offer insurance to part-time employees).
The county council, however, during the budget workshops, put the funding back in for 2016.
The commissioners will have to make a decision whether or not to keep the funding in the budget.
It was the same board of commissioners, Ethridge and commissioners Kenny Saulman and Jim Klinstiver, that did away with insurance for part-time elected officials.
‘That’s something that has always stuck in my craw,’ Ethridge said at the time. ‘Why should a part-time politician be afforded that luxury?’
The council will continue with budget workshops today (Wednesday) and tomorrow.
The commissioners will meet in regular session Monday at 8:30 a.m. All meeting are at the Government Center in south Corydon and open to the public.

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