Open enrollment prompts debate |

Open enrollment prompts debate

Open enrollment season is coming, and Douglas County commissioners are discussing subsidizing a portion of the health insurance increase for county employees.

Premiums for both the high deductible and preferred provider plans offered to the county are increasing by 6.91 percent.

County commissioners voted at their Oct. 5 meeting to switch to Hometown Health after hearing that the other option would mean a much higher increase.

The county’s former insurer, Prominence originally estimated premiums would increase 28.7 percent, but later came down to 16.02 percent.

If the county were to fund the increase in medical care, it would cost $275,000.

According to Chief Financial Officer Vicki Moore, the subsidy could be paid for from $300,000 savings in salaries and benefits.

The last big increase in insurance was in 2014, when it went up 15.5 percent. During the intervening three years, the increases have been much lower, with no increase in 2017.

The switch to Hometown Health was approved by the Douglas County Insurance Committee, which includes representatives of the county’s employee associations, management representatives and retirees.

At their Oct. 5 meeting, commissioners were divided by the proposal.

Douglas County commissioners meet 1:30 p.m. Thursday at the Tahoe Transportation Center at Stateline.