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County’s Health Insurance Cost Will Decline In ‘17

By David Howell

Editor


COFFEEVILLE – The taxpayer cost for providing health insurance for the county’s workforce will decrease $17,686 in the coming year. The reduction marks the third consecutive year the annual premium has decreased, pushing the annual cost to around $365,000 in the coming year.

Among the factors cited during the “first Monday” supervisor meeting was a reduction in the amount of claims paid during 2016 along with a decrease in the average age of the county’s labor force that typically hovers between 60 and 70 workers, including elected officials.

“The average age has gone down in the last three years, from 52 (years-old) to 48.5,” the county’s agent, Leslie Smith, told supervisors during the meeting held at the Coffeeville courthouse.

Following Smith’s presentation, supervisors voted unanimously to renew the policy.  This marks the fourth year Blue Cross/Blue Shield was selected as the primary health care provider for county employees. The county also utilizes a secondary policy “gap” provider in conjunction with the Blue Cross/Blue Shield policy.

Smith also explained the policy’s coverage is a little better this year, explaining that the maximum out-of-pocket cost an employee will pay for any procedure is $500.

“This is wonderful news, I can tell you in other markets it is not the same story. There are a lot of increases on the national level, even with the Affordable Care Act,” Board President Cayce Washington added.

Other business conducted at the meeting included:

• Awarded a bid to Townes Construction in Grenada for a bank stabilization project on County Road 5 and County Road 68.  Townes was the low bidder, submitting a $64,600 price for the work that will be funded through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service as an Emergency Watershed Project (EWP).

• Agreed to solicit bids for a second time for a used 30’x72’ mobile home office that is located adjacent to the sheriff’s department on County Road 436. After advertising the building multiple times in the Herald, no bids were received. The bid specifications require the purchaser to move the building. The mobile home was donated to the county by Carother’s Construction in 2008 and has only been used for storage since then.

•Approved the $63,164.23 purchase of a new John Deere tractor and loader for District 2 from Scruggs Equipment and Tractor.

•Discussed the appointment of a board member to replace Mike Edwards on the hospital board.

“I understand that he is looking maybe to slow down,” Washington told supervisors about Edwards’ resignation. 

The position vacated by Edwards is appointed from the District 1 supervisory district and Washington said he is looking for a replacement. Attorney Daniel Martin, who attended the meeting in John Crow’s absence, explained an appointment must be made within 90 days of the vacancy.

• Reappointed Percy Haywood as the District 2 representative on the hospital board for a five-year term. 

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