Chesterton Tribune



Porter Town Council eyes change to healthcare provider

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The Porter Town Council is looking to reduce next year’s health insurance rate for municipal employees.

But it would mean changing the provider network, Steve Brady of Heritage Advisory Group told the council at its meeting Tuesday night.

The renewal rate for medical/dental insurance provided by United Health Care is set to increase 10.1 percent for 2020, Brady said. However, changing the provider network would result in a decrease of the 2019 rate by 8 percent and next year’s renewal rate by fully 18 percent.

The benefits themselves would remain the same under the provider network change and no hospitals in Northwest Indiana would be affected, Brady said. The change would, however, affect two hospitals in Chicago: University of Chicago and Lurie Children’s, neither of which are part of the new network.

Brady told the council that he’s spoken with employees and has determined that no one is currently receiving treatment at either the University of Chicago Hospital or Lurie Children’s Hospital. For that reason, Brady recommended changing provider networks for the cost savings.

“I think it’s good news anytime you hear insurance is going down,” President Greg Stinson said. “I’m glad you checked that nobody’s care is going to be interrupted.”

Dental premiums will be going up by $55 per month, approximately $1 per employee. Life and vision--provided by Best Life--won’t change at all or only minimally, Brady added.

The council took no action on Tuesday. A vote on insurance renewal is scheduled for members’ next meeting, 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12.


In other business, members voted unanimously to approve a renewal of the town’s property/casualty/workman’s comp insurance, premiums for which will increase by roughly 6 percent or $3,551.

Jim Anton of Anton Insurance Agency told the council that $2,393 of the increase is due to a bump in workman’s compensation insurance, following a 2017 claim “which just rolled in.” That resulted is an 11-percent surcharge based on that claim alone, he said.

Total renewal cost for 2020: $88,356, up from $84,805.

The new policy will go into effect next week.

PFD Pre-Planning

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to approve an expenditure of $1,400 to fund a new cloud-based “pre-planning” program which Fire Chief Jay Craig will make the pre-planning for fighting commercial fires hugely faster and easier.

The program will allow Craig to input building dimensions, room layouts, key locations, keyholders, nearby hydrants, and flow rates in a fraction of the time it takes now: from three to four hours per commercial building to 15 minutes.

The resulting data will be downloadable at the scene from all smart devices.

Of that sum, $400 is for start-up costs and $1,000 for annual maintenance. Hereafter, the $1,000 maintenance fee will come from the PFD’s budget.

Remembering Ken Timm

Stinson opened Tuesday’s meeting with a moment of silence to remember the late Ken Timm, who passed on Thursday, Oct. 17.

Tim was a Porter businessman who served on the Plan Commission and the Board of Zoning Appeals for 17 years.

“Ken served faithfully and will be greatly missed,” Stinson said.

Vote for PFD in Scarecrow Contest

Porter Fire Chief Jay Craig is inviting folks to cast their vote for the Porter Fire Department’s entry into the Residences of Coffee Creek 2019 Scarecrow Contest.

Voting is taking place through Thursday, Oct. 31, with the winners announced on Friday, Nov. 1. First prize: $500. Second: $250.

Folks can like the PFD’s scarecrow post on its Facebook page. Or--even better--they can visit the Residences of Coffee Creek and cast as many votes as they wish at the concierge desk.

Residences of Coffee Creek is located at 2300 Village Point in Coffee Creek Center in Chesterton.

“Some of the firefighters worked very hard to put that display together,” Craig reported to the Town Council at its meeting Tuesday night.

“And it looks very good,” President Greg Stinson said.



Posted 10/23/2019




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