County employees of Clay County USA would now contribute $12 per paycheck in a bid to check rising health insurance costs.
"It is something we had to do," Commissioner Tony Fenwick said. "The insurance increased $100,000 last year, basically, and we just can't continue paying for the employees' full amount. It is just a big burden on the county, and, hopefully, the employees would understand what we are doing here."
After the implementation of the Affordable Care Act it was suggested that part of the policy costs be transferred to the employee after proper analysis by a committee on how much should be paid by the employee.
Clay County Council member Mike McCullough said some of the federal mandates included raising policy limits to an unlimited amount and fully covering preventative care, which, ultimately, led to increased health care costs.
McCullough added that while other counties might not have the same plans, the costs were still fairly low.
"As far as I am concerned, (as a county) we are still getting off very easily," McCullough said. "Not sure of anywhere (minus a few exceptions) they can get health coverage without paying something."
Other changes included raising the maximum allowance for employees dental and vision coverage from $550 to $600.
Fenwick said he wasn't in favor of the change because of the cost to the county. The employees of Clay County were paying the lowest amount as compared to other counties for premiums.
"I thought we were charging them to make up the difference we have to pay," he said. "I disagree with (raising the maximums)."
"Many insurance rates are going up," Sinders said. "Some are going up 10 to 12 percent. We always try to keep our increases as low as possible and I think we have been able to do that."
He added that in the past two years, the county had managed to keep increases around 5 percent.
Ernest Rollins, June 2014
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)