by Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com

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November 2, 2013
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County workers face health care hike

County employees are facing an average rate increase of 15.6 percent in their health insurance premiums.

With initial quotes ranging from 25.8 percent to 37.3 percent increases to continue the employee’s current plan, county officials said they will have to modify insurance plans to reduce the premium increase.

Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to discuss renewing the county plan on Thursday.

According to a memo written by Human Resources Manager Norma Santoyo, the county sought bids from current carrier St. Mary’s, Anthem and United Healthcare. “We are unable to maintain our current plan design without a rate increase,” Santoyo said. “Therefore, county staff negotiated with St. Mary’s to modify the current plan to an acceptable participation with all the employee groups.”

Under the proposal, the county will continue to offer three core plans and three enhanced plans with an average rate increase of 15.6 percent.

All three of the enhanced plans will increase by 25.2-26 percent.

Affecting the cost increases is the Affordable Care Act, which establishes a minimum value coverage, eliminates annual limits, removes exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and establishes new fees and assessments.

The plan affects 1,031 employees and their dependents. It covers the county, the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts, and the towns of Minden, Gardnerville and Genoa. The plan is estimated to cost $4.2 million during 2014, with employees paying most of the increase. The East Fork Fire District will carry the largest financial impact with a total increase of $59,784 for all its employees for the year. The county impact will be $9,433.92.

County staff is also recommending a one-time contribution to health savings accounts of county employee enrolled in that core plan of $72,000.

The HSA core plan will see a 14.2 percent rate increase.


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The Record Courier Updated Nov 11, 2013 12:12PM Published Nov 2, 2013 01:52PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.