01STOCK_COURTHOUSE_ROCKCOUNTY2

JANESVILLE

Rock County employees will provide input on their health insurance plan in the coming months.

The Rock County Board voted recently to form the ad hoc Health Insurance Plan Advisory Committee comprising 15 employees and three board members. Members will discuss several options to stabilize the county’s health insurance plan.

County board members were split March 14 on whether to form the employee-led committee, with spirited discussion on the topic lasting about an hour.

Rock County Administrator Josh Smith said the county has been experiencing significant increases in the number of claims and cost per claim. The county is self-insured, meaning it pays its own insurance claims. He said the county is considering modifying its current plan or having a different one in 2020.

Supporters of the committee said getting more input from employees could help Smith make a decision. Opponents questioned the committee’s value, particularly because the county already has meetings planned with employees to discuss their health insurance options.

“It just seems like it’s a solution without a problem and (will) cause more issues than it will solve. ...” board member Rick Richard said. “There’s every opportunity to give input right now without this ad hoc committee.”

Board member Richard Bostwick saw no downside to the committee.

“The only thing that could come of this is some positive recommendations, and we’ll do with them what we will,” Bostwick said during the meeting.

Board member Kathy Schulz spearheaded the committee. She said it is intended to give county employees greater input on their health insurance plan while providing equal representation across the financial spectrum.

Smith lauded the committee, saying it could be “greatly beneficial in helping us shape our thinking.” He is exploring four health insurance options and hopes the committee will be able to make recommendations by June.

He said he hopes the committee holds its first meeting the week of April 15.

Rock County Board Chairman Russ Podzilni said the county is in the process of assembling employees for the committee.

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