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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Budget impact for health insurance is $44K

  • After about two months of discussions, Phelps County Commissioners on Nov. 26 decided to keep their existing provider for health insurance and offer employees an updated plan that will impact the 2014 budget by more than $44,000.
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  • After about two months of discussions, Phelps County Commissioners on Nov. 26 decided to keep their existing provider for health insurance and offer employees an updated plan that will impact the 2014 budget by more than $44,000.
    During their Tuesday meeting, commissioners unanimously approved staying with the county’s current provider, UnitedHealthcare to provide eligible county employees a plan that raises the maximum out-of-pocket expenses from $3,000 a year to $4,000 annually.
    The new plans will take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
    According to updated figures provided at the meeting, which did not include the commission payment for the county’s health insurance agent, the employee’s contribution to employee-only coverage would be raised by $5.34 per month. An estimated 80 percent of county employees who participate in the plan are purchasing the employee-only option.
    County employees would still pay 15 percent of the health insurance costs in 2014 as they did this year.
    There are no other changes to the plan regarding deductibles, doctor co-pays, co-insurance, prescription cards and wellness exams. One other change, required by the ACA, is that al payments can be applied to an employee’s deductible except for pharmacy costs.
    The total county budget impact under the health renewal option chosen will be $44,068.20. Of that amount, $17,117.40 will come from the sheriff’s department budget. About 47 county employees currently enrolled in the plan work for the sheriff’s department.
    The impact to the county revenue fund will be $14,203.80. About $4,300 will come from the health department budget and about $5,800 will be come out of the road and bridge fund.
    County commissioners said if an employee does not enroll in the county’s health insurance plan and does not sign up for another health plan, that employee can be fined for not having health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” as it’s commonly called.
    The commissioners and County Clerk Carol Bennett have been working with the county’s insurance broker, Sheran Ashby, of Ashby’s Covenant Insurance, of St. James, for the last two months on renewing the county’s health insurance plans.
    The commission also agreed to offer Ashby a contract to continue as the county’s health insurance agent for 2014.
    In other business
    • Also at the Nov. 26 meeting, the commissioners learned that the county’s fiscal year 2014 allocation of Bridge Replacement Off-System (BRO) funds is $123,832.48, which raises the county’s balance from $170,035.29 as of Oct. 31 to $293,867.77.
    The county’s fiscal year 2013 allocation was $115,819.45.
    The county also has a soft match balance of $126,542.73.
    A soft match is a credit earned by counties that replaces their deficient bridges with local funding. This soft match can be used in lieu of the 20 percent local match on bridge projects.
    Page 2 of 2 - • Commissioners Gary Hicks and Larry Stratman were told by Public Administrator Kathy Oliver on Nov. 21 that she now has about 170 clients her office serves. Hicks and Stratman said they may have to look at expanding her office staff, but Hicks questioned how that would be funded besides out of the county’s general revenue fund.
    • The commissioners received an updated list of transportation priorities in Phelps County. The commission must choose its top three priorities that will then be brought to the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s Transportation Advisory Committee’s Dec. 12 meeting in St. James.
    • The commission met in closed session for propriety reasons regarding sales tax.
    • Richard G. Riemann Jr., of Rave Mobile Safety, attended the commission meeting to talk about a mass notification system that Rave offers. (See Monday’s Rolla Daily News for more on his talk.)

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