Insurance premiums could rise in 2018

By Jonathan Delozier -

Health insurance premiums could be going up for village employees in 2018.

As it stands, employees pay 10 percent of their plan’s annual cost with the village picking up the remainder.

If proposed changes are approved, that rate would change to 12.5 percent for employees.

The village’s premium package, or Plan A, costs $26,592 annually for families and $10,596 for individuals. Standard coverage, or Plan B, costs $24,464 for a family and $9,748 for an individual. A medical-only plan for a family runs $18,504 and $7,380 for individuals.

In a discussion Dec. 18, council members and village manager Steve Dupee said that 12.5 percent is the average premium contribution for workers across all Ohio municipalities.

While any change will lead to increased out-of-pocket costs for employees in the short term, Dupee said the village will continue to look for ways to cut its costs without losing coverage amenities.

One way could be searching for a new provider. The village is currently enrolled through the county with Medical Mutual.

”We’re going to search for ways to put more money back into the employees’ pockets,” Dupee said. “I absolutely understand employees’ concerns. We are going to take a hard look at our plans and other options. I’m not suggesting we’re leaving the county plan tomorrow but we’re going to look at a larger variety of plans.”

Another option could be establishing a flexible spending account, which would allow employees to use pre-tax dollars for out-of-pocket insurance expenses.

“I think we’re doing this in a way that has as little impact toward the employees as possible,” said Dupee. “It will also give us some time to look for other ways to mitigate these issues in the future.”

Water superintendent Mark Rosemark felt some council members were characterizing insurance costs as an extra expense instead of a standard part of paying workers.

“Especially in the public sector, health insurance is just part of the cost of doing business,” he said. “It’s a constant. It’s not a gift. It’s not something extraordinary. I think that point is being missed by at least a couple of people here tonight. There are unions throughout this country that deal with these issues. The bigger the company, the more likely they’ll be dealing with a collective bargaining situation. You can’t keep bringing up the cost of insurance as an extraordinary factor. It’s the cost of doing business.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier