County health insurance premiums lower than expected

Monday, January 17, 2005

Buena Vista County received some good news Tuesday when the board of supervisors learned that the county's health insurance premium increase would be less than half of what was expected.

Ali Child, Wellmark Blue Cross representative, said the county's increase would be 6.43 percent. Child said that compares with an industry average of 12-15 percent.

The reason for the lower increase, said Child, is reduced claims from last year which Child credited in part to the county's efforts in managed care.

Child said other features the county might look at would be Blue Priority, or a health savings account that would help cover deductibles costs.

The county also has a group services program which covers the difference between the Wellmark Blue Cross $2,000 deductible and the $750 deductible that employees actually pay. Under current rates, the county pays 100 percent of employee health insurance at $4,812 and 50 percent of family premiums, making an average cost to the county of $8,496 per family.

In other business coming before he supervisors Tuesday, the board agreed to an April bid letting for the county's portion of the C49 concrete overlap project. The county will only be responsible for the portion of the road improvement east of the Storm Lake city limits.

In another road-related matter, County Engineer Jon Ites said Geotech Engineering was cleaning up an EPA spill site at the former Brown service station at N14 and C25 two miles north of Albert City. Ites said Geotech, which is cleaning up spoil from an underground fuel tank, asked whether the county could temporarily remove a road to facilitate cleaning up the site.

Ites said he told Geotech he would prefer not taking out he road, and the board agreed with Ites on the matter.

In other road-related business, the board agreed to declare as surplus and advertise for sale a 1972 International truck. The board also agreed to allow Ites to look for a used boom truck for brush control.

The board agreed to a Feb. 22 bid letting for replacement of a culvert west of Sturchler's pit in Section 18 of Newell Township. Also approved was a contract with Schoon Construction for a precast box culvert in Section 14 of Nokomis Township.

The board also agreed to retaining the current levy for the secondary roads budget, making a $31,500 increase in the fund. Supervisors Jim Gustafson and Bill Lanphere voted against maintaining the levy at the current level.

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