Health insurance costs to increase 6.5 percent
BY KEVIN BONESKE
The Oneida County Board will consider a resolution at its budget hearing next week to increase the wages of non-union employees by 1 percent for 2017.
The county’s Labor Relations/Employee Services and Administration committees held a joint meeting Tuesday afternoon when they backed the increase of $112,855, for which $91,537 will come from the tax levy and the other $21,318 will come from fees and state aids.
For the 13 county employees whose wages will be above the highest step level for their positions next year, committee members also backed a one-time payment of $300 per employee in 2017.
Supervisor Billy Fried recommended a flat amount that would total $3,900 in payouts to the so-called “red-circled” employees, instead of more than $12,000 in another proposal brought before the committees to pay a lump sum of 1 percent of their salaries.
County finance director Margie Sorenson said lowest of the “red-circled” employees makes $30,000 a year, for which a 1 percent payment would be $300 with the other 12 receiving more than that.
In an effort to keep the county’s health insurance costs from rising above 7 percent annually, committee members favored changes to next year’s insurance plans to limit the increase to 6.5 percent.
For instance, the two preferred provider plans – one using a network with Aspirus and the other a broad network plan – will increase the deductible by $750 for single coverage and $1,500 for covering an employee along with another person or family coverage. The maximum out-of-pocket expense for the deductible, coinsurance and copayments will also increase by the same amounts.
“In this circumstance with the higher deductible, the out-of pocket maximum is increased for the people who are using the plan,” said county human resources director Lisa Charbarneau.
Sorenson said an additional $234,000 would come from the county’s tax levy to pay for the increase in health insurance costs. She also noted non-union as well as union employees would be responsible for paying 10 percent of the total premium costs next year.