Insurance rates going up for county workers |

Insurance rates going up for county workers

Renewal of the county’s contract with Renown’s Hometown Health will result in a 9-percent increase in health insurance rates for county employees.

The contract approved by county commissioners will cost county, town and court employees a combined $420,000 a year, according to Human Resources Director Wendy Lang.

She said the county has had the contract with Renown since January 2018 and that it was renewed in January 2019 with no increases.

However, this year saw some significant increases in employees’ use of the plan, which went up to 95 percent of the total premiums paid during the year.

Lang said that the arrangement with Hometown Health was that the county wouldn’t look for an alternative insurer in exchange for a 3-percent decrease in the cap this year.

However, next year the company could increase the county’s rates by up to 12 percent under the agreement.

“Utilization of the health insurance has gone up substantially,” Lang told commissioners. The usage went up from 74 percent of premiums the previous year.

Lang said that Douglas employees haven’t used wellness programs, though it’s early to tell.

“Numerous studies in the industry have shown there is no correlation between wellness initiatives and reduced health care costs,” Lang said.

She pointed out that changing health insurers is hard on employees and that part of the deal with Renown was that they wouldn’t do that.