Chesterton Tribune



Commissioners fine tune insurance options

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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 available.

Commissioner 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.”

Commissioner Laura 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.

County Foundation

County Council 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.

Employee Recognition

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.

Butler was 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.”


Posted 1/31/2018




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