Clark County employees will see health care cost increase in 2018

5:00 p.m Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 Politics
Jeff Guerini
Clark County Engineer’s Department employees, (right) Keith Yeary and Tom Smith install a traffic sign to warn motorists to slow down in this 2016 photo. In 2018, Clark County employees will see insurance costs raise by about 1 percent. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

More than 750 Clark County employees will see a 1-percent increase in health insurance premiums next year as part of the county’s self-insured model, leaders said.

The plans will cost about $71 a month for individuals, $142 for employees plus one dependent and about $209 for a family in 2018, according to public documents.

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Employees who participate in the county wellness program will receive a monthly credit of $50 for individuals, $75 for an employee plus dependent and $100 for a family.

Workers will pay about 11 percent of the total premium without a wellness credit, according to public documents. That’s an increase of about 1 percent from last year, Clark County Administrator Jenny Hutchinson said.

Employees in other counties are paying about 22 to 23 percent of their plan, she said.

“We’re trying to become more aligned with the industry standards,” Hutchinson said.

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Clark County commissioners approved the insurance plan at a meeting earlier this month.

This year, the plans monthly cost is about $65, $129 and $190. In 2016, each plan cost employees about $63, $126 and $186 per month.

The county recently switched its health care coverage from a statewide consortium to a self-insured model that was expected to save at least $1.2 million in insurance costs.

The self-insured plan was expected to cost up to $15.5 million a year, depending on the number of claims. Through the first 10 months of the year, the county has spent about $10.3 million on claims, Hutchinson said.

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The county spends about $1 million per month on insurance claims, meaning 2017 would be on par with last year for total claims, she said.

Several claims in the first few months of the year, however, were processed under the previous insurance provider because it takes time to make the transition, Personnel Director Michelle Noble said.

Next year will be the county’s first full calendar year with its self-insured model, Noble said.

In 2015 and 2016, the county spent about $12.4 million a year on health insurance claims as a member of the County Employee Benefits Consortium of Ohio, which saw the county pay a monthly premium to cover claims and administration costs. The county decided to leave the consortium after rates were expected to increase up to $1.5 million.

If the county were still with the county consortium, premiums might have gone up, Hutchinson said, regardless of whether the county had a good year or not.

“We’re more in control of our plan rather than having someone else dictate our rates to us whether we need to increase them or not,” she said. “It’s definitely a good thing for the county, but also the employees. It’s a win both ways.”

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