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Inmates' medical costs continue to increase

Wednesday, June 4, 2003

Concerned about the high cost to county employees for family medical insurance, Clay County Commissioners requested three different insurance representatives to present quotes at Monday's regular meeting.

Currently, the county has its policy with Jim Zentko of Allied Insurance and Ken Dunn of Dunn and Associates. It is a self-insured, four-tiered, policy which has fixed administrative costs along with full payment of any claim with a set maximum. This year the county paid $143,000 in fixed costs and $173,000 in claims, for a total of $316,000 in medical and life insurances.

"With self-insured policies, good years with few claims would result in refunds, but bad years with several large claims could result in losses. One out of the last four years has been bad for the county, which was three years ago," Zentko said.

The first tier, a single employee, is paid for by the county. The second tier is an employee plus spouse, the third is an employee and children, and the fourth is the family plan which includes the employee, spouse and children.

The current family plan has a $250 deductible with a $25,000 maximum out-of -pocket county expense for each claim. Dunn said underwriters set the amount needed to cover the county policy and it is up to the commissioners to decide how to disburse the rates among the four tiers. He explained costs could be reduced if the deductible was increased or if the policy were reduced to just two tiers to include single employee and family plans.

Commissioners also heard from Shelly Campbell, representing companies carrying fully insured policies. She said most insurance providers recommended groups as large as Clay County employees should be fully insured, which has a set premium regardless of claims. Out of three providers she contacted, she said Anthem gave the most aggressive rates with the best benefit packages. Combining medical, life, dental and vision insurances would cost the county $363,173.

Joe Clark, representing a third-party administrator, said with the limited information he was given, his quotes weren't as low, but that if he were give additional information, he could come up with a more solid presentation.

Commissioner Daryl Andrews told him he would get the information to him.

No decision was made as to whether or not the county would change insurance carriers.

In other business:

- Commissioner President David Parr said he contacted Graves Plumbing about reconstruction of the Knightsville Road from the Knightsville/Harmony sewer project. He asked the company to bump up the time line for finishing to mid-June.

- Parr also said Black Beauty Coal Company would close CR 100 W in Saline City in order to mine through it. He didn't know when it would re-open, but Commissioner Harold "Buddy" Knox said he thought the contract stated it would be less than one year and that hopefully they would straighten out the "S" curve.

- Ron Chamberlain, county highway commissioner, said prime oil had been secured and was being stored to use for road patching. He also reported 100 pounds of grass seed had been spread, trees planted, dirt piled up, rip wrap set and spill ways made along Briley Ditch.

"We've done everything the EPA recommended and this work ought to satisfy them," he said.

- Commissioners also gave permission to the Popcorn Festival committee to host a Victorian Ball in the court house rotunda, provided the committee secures liability insurance.



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