October 22, 2014

Arenac board to decide on county health insurance plan at Oct. 19 meeting

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STANDISH — Arenac County Board of Commissioners Chairman Raymond Daniels said the board intends to make a decision on what type of health insurance to offer to county employees at its Oct. 19 regular meeting.

“Next Tuesday, we’re going to be making a motion and recommending a proposal,” Daniels said in an Oct. 15 interview.

Daniels said the board began considering other health insurance options for county employees after it learned that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan was raising its rates 50 percent.

“We’re trying to figure a way to provide employees insurance without them spending half their check,” he said.

Daniels said about a week ago, the board met with a representative of the county’s insurance agent, The Hantz Group, and county employees at the Circuit Court building.

“We had very good attendance,” he said.

Commissioner Michael Snyder, in an Oct. 13 interview, said The Hantz Group formulated a new health insurance plan, which the board has taken back to county employees.

“Some of our employees said that this was acceptable,” he said. “Some said we want to look at one other thing, and we will probably meet with them shortly. This is simply a proposal we’ve made to the unions.”

Snyder said the program offered by The Hantz Group involves different deductibles and different co-pays, but added that the out-of-pocket dollars would be similar to what employees are paying now.

“We, as a board, started looking at what kind of programs would be available to us in an economically reasonable range,” he said.

Daniels said the employees’ Teamsters Union was scheduled to present its members with another health insurance proposal the afternoon of Oct. 15. He said members of the Board of Commissioners would be satisfied with county employees agreeing to either The Hantz Group’s proposal or the Teamsters’ proposal.

“We’re good with whatever satisfies the employees, whatever they feel is good for them,” he said.

However, Daniels said it is important the board make a decision on the matter as soon as possible, because Blue Cross is scheduled to take payments out of county employees’ checks Nov. 1 for their December premium.

“We just have to get it done,” he said. “Our timetable is running out. Our year with Blue Cross ends Dec. 1.”

According to Snyder, county employees that have single coverage for their health insurance are currently paying $410 per month, while those with two-person coverage are paying $830 per month and those with family coverage are paying $1,000 per month.

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