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Porter County commissioners consider employee insurance plans

Updated: August 20, 2013 4:26PM



VALPARAISO – Porter County’s proposed insurance plans won’t save employees or the county much money, but could save employees from getting dinged on their taxes for so-called “Cadillac plans”

The Board of Commissioners on Wednesday heard about the two proposed plans – down from the four the county now has – from Leigh Westergen, employee benefit specialist with Anton Insurance.

The plans were the result of collaboration with a committee comprised of employees representing the full spectrum of insurance policies, from singles to families. The committee met in September and October.

The county has four plans now, though about 83 percent of employees use one plan, said Commissioners President John Evans, R-North. Dropping the number of plans will result in some savings in administrative costs for the county.

The first plan raises deductibles from $350 to $500 for singles and $700 to $1,000 for families, and keeps premiums where they are, Westergen said. That’s $75 a month for singles, and up to $175 a month for families.

The plan spares employees the negative tax implications of lower deductibles that kick in at the start of next year for “Cadillac plans,” and the deductibles are more in line with what other employers offer, she said.

If all the county’s employees go with a second plan, which offers a health savings account, the county could save 10 percent to 15 percent on claims. That plan offers a $1,250 deductible for singles and a $2,500 deductible for families, but those figures also are the maximum for out-of-pocket expenses.

The monthly premiums for that program are $50 less than the first plan, money that could go into employees’ health savings accounts and be used toward medical expenses. That money is set aside pre-tax, and remains with employees after they retire or leave county employment, Westergen said.

Westergen will seek requests for proposals from area health clinics for another component of the county’s health plan; the county’s contract with HealtheAccess expires at the end of the year.

Evans said he hopes commissioners will make a decision on a health insurance plan at their next meeting.

In other business, the county’s website will soon be getting a redesign. Commissioners approved a contract for $75,604 with CivicPlus for the work.

Sharon Lippens, the county’s information technology director, said the county’s current website is somewhat static and a more dynamic site, along with a presence on Twitter and Facebook, would better serve the community.

The new site also will include apps for smart phones and tablets, and will be able to be updated from remote sites by department heads.

“In 2012, citizens are expecting a much more detail-oriented website,” Lippens said.



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