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Health-insurance contributions will increase in 2013-14

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 11:07 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 11:27 a.m. CDT

Union County employees may soon pay more out of pocket for their health insurance.

County supervisors voted unanimously Monday to increase county employee contributions by 6.4 percent for health insurance in 2013-14. It’s estimated the increase will bring in an additional $1,234 annually toward the plan.

“There is no sense insulating people from the reality that health-care costs are going up,” said Dennis Brown, county supervisor. “Our costs (as a county) are going up. I think their costs have to go up, too.”

Currently, about 70 employees are on the county’s health-insurance program administered by Bernie Lowe & Associates of Ankeny. The county has three plans — plans B, C and D. There are 10 people on plan B, three on C and the remaining (57) are on plan D.

That being said, there will be no increase for those employees on plan D — the plan with a higher deductible and no employee contribution. The 6.4 percent increase only applies to plans B and C.

“I think in time, the way the industry is headed, everyone will have to be contribute to their health-insurance plan,” said Ron Riley, supervisor chairman. “We’re working right now to get everyone, including the union employees, on the same year and same (health-insurance) plans. It’s a slow process, but eventually we’d like to consolidate it to one or two plans and have everyone contributing. I think it’s a much more sustainable plan if everyone is contributing.”

This 6.4 percent increase applies to not just county courthouse employees, but also secondary roads and sheriff’s office employees.

The increase will officially be announced to employees during open enrollment later this month.

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In other county business Monday:

New stairs: Paul Boden, county building and grounds director, made the board and public aware Monday demolition of the front steps to the Union County Law Enforcement Center (LEC) may begin as early as next week. When demolition begins, general foot traffic will be rerouted through the courthouse to the LEC.

Alliant trees: Doug Jones, county conservation director, said Monday discounted trees are still available through Alliant Energy Operation ReLeaf — a residential tree planting program that promotes long-term energy and natural resource conservation.

Species of trees still available are crab apple, sweet gum, hackberry and river birch. For more information on the ReLeaf program see the press release on page 8A of today’s paper.

Meeting change: Next week’s supervisor’s meeting has been moved from Monday to 9 a.m. Wednesday at the board room. Sandy Hysell, county auditor, said the reason for the move is one of the supervisors had a prior commitment.

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