County closer to insurance savings
The 2008 budget passed with the assumption that changes would be made to the insurance benefit.
Two unions of the county’s seven unions—the sheriff’s deputies and the health and human services professionals—accepted the new health insurance plan.
The insurance proposal drops a four-tiered plan that gives employees coverage options. The lowest coverage is to employees. Progressively better plans require employees to pay premiums of 3, 5 and 10 percent.
The latest proposal offers one plan that includes the same network of health care providers but with higher co-pays, deductibles and a “buy down” option, said Suzi Hagstrom, labor and employee relations director.
Employees will pay 10 percent of the deductible in 2008 but can reduce that to 5 percent if they take a health risk assessment and take steps toward a healthier lifestyle.
In 2009, they will pay 12 percent of the deductible or reduce it to 7 percent by taking the assessment and following health recommendations.
The single option offers greater discounts to the county. That, and having employees pay for more of the insurance, would meet the $1 million obligation, Hagstrom said.
The county still is negotiating with five unions.
“We would love to finish them up ASAP, but we’re not there yet,” Hagstrom said.
She could not comment on specifics of any of the union negotiations.
The unions that approved labor agreements accepted an annual pay raise of 2.5 percent. The 2.5 percent will also be offered to non-union employees, the board approved Tuesday.