By Jordan Puckett
New Richmond village council voted to adopt a new health insurance policy for a period of 90 days during the June 25 regular council meeting.
Village administrator Dave Kennedy brought the issue before council. Health insurance proposals had been reviewed prior to the council meeting at a special meeting of the personnel and finance committees June 24.
Kennedy said he is trying come up with plan that is closest financially to the current health insurance policy.
“Option Three is the closest we could get to the cost, but is by no means the same in terms of benefits,” Kennedy said.
Council member Amanda Davidson asked if this plan has less benefits. Council member Paul Vanderbosch said it does.
“I always look at things for myself,” Wolf said. “If you don’t need insurance, and you don’t think you’re ever going to use it…you want the cheapest option. If you’re ever sick or have some hospitalization, you want the best policy possible.”
Option Three poses a one percent increase to the village cost and a 25 percent increase of renewal cost.
Davidson asked if the increased renewal rate was due to the price of inflation.
Kennedy said that part of the reason for the renewal rate increase was due to the “fear of the unknown” about the upcoming changes to the national health care system that will be implemented in 2014.
Some council members were in favor of keeping the current plan.
“My only concern about that is the employees haven’t had a pay raise in a few years,” Mayor Ramona Carr said.
The new health insurance policy would increase the village cost by $90 per month.
“Other insurance companies, other agents, around here have made up larger groups, by using two or three small groups and combining them…to give them more flexibility in their plan and what they have to pay,” said council member Richard Feldkamp.
“I looked at getting the village in with the Center for Local Government, which is 50 different communities,” Kennedy said. This would have benefited the village in terms of cost and quality of health insurance. Kennedy said they went through the process, but were denied.
Davidson argued against cutting the benefit while also increasing insurance rates.
“One of the things we have going for us in the people we have here, is loyalty,” she said. “If you do something like that to them, they’re all going to leave.”
Council member Rich Matthews agreed that employees making $10-$15 per hour would find it difficult to accommodate a 50 percent increase in insurance rates.
“I think we really have to care about our employees, not just look at them as numbers, but as human beings,” Matthews said.
Council voted 4-2 to adopt Option Three for 90 days while other options are explored.