The Porter County
Commissioners brought in consultant RE Sutton & Associates at their meeting
Tuesday morning to explain new health insurance opportunities for County
employees and to make recommendations.
Tony Bontrager of
RE Sutton reported that the current plan is due for renewal or termination
in April and would cost 4.2 percent more than last year if renewed. That
plan doesn’t presently operate on a network system, Bontrager noted, and
moving it to a network system would cost only 2.6 percent more than the
County pays now in addition to providing employees with more options. A plan
from United Healthcare, he also said, could offer employees access to the
United Choice Plus Network, which is one of the most robust networks
President Jeff Good, R-Center, said that he’s excited about the new plan’s
potential and the report from RE Sutton. “It’s the beginning of a march
toward a better program for everybody, for the county and the employees.”
Blaney, D-South, recognizing the burden of high deductibles, said that “With
a high deductible you really get hit with costs in the beginning of the
year.” Bontrager, however, reported that the deductible for single filers
would only need to increase by $100, to comply with federal regulations for
health savings accounts. In the interest of consistency, Bontrager also
recommended that the deductible for families increase by the same amount.
On the issue of
dental insurance, Bontrager said Delta Dental may be the best option for the
County, that there are advantages to having dental insurance with a provider
who operates only in dental work, and that 82 percent of dentists in Porter
County are in Delta’s network.
Good also broached
the possibility of having on-site clinics at the County Administration
buildings in Valparaiso and Portage.
RE Sutton &
Associates will move forward with investigating the cost of the choice plus
network, Delta Dental, and United Healthcare. Bontrager will give another
update Feb. 13.
Member and Vice-president of the Porter County Foundation Dan Whitten
appeared before the Commissioners to give a brief update on the Foundation.
Although Financial consultant Capital Cities is expected to give a
presentation on the Foundation’s investments in March, in the meantime
Whitten said the Foundation’s investments returned 11 percent earnings. He
noted that the County has done very well considering limits on its equities.
“It was a bumper crop year for the County with investments.”
Whitten also said
that the County is in the process of building up significant holding funds
that would amount to three years of operation costs for use in the case of
severe economic downturn.
In other business,
the Commissioners recognized Everett Butler for his 40 years of service to
the Highway Department. Butler began with the Highway Department on July 11,
1977 and is retiring this year.
presented with a plaque recognizing his years as a driver, operator, and
foreman. Highway Department Supervisor Andy McKay said, “He’s been an
outstanding dedicated employee for over 40 years and I’m very honored to
have had the opportunity to work with Everett.”