The Bent County commissioners discussed everything from a Golden Age Transit grant to a loan for medical services at their June 6 meeting, but no issue was livelier than the rise in health insurance costs that county employees soon will be facing.
With an abnormally number of high claims this year, Bent County employees face a 28 percent increase in the price of their health insurance premiums. The commissioners said they are having trouble finding a new health care provider, because no other provider would accept them, making the 28 percent increase inevitable.
“We’ve had some particularly high claims,” said Com,issioner Kim MacDonnell. “This is kind of an (unusual) year, at least we hope it is.
“The county has attempted to look at other options for health insurance other than the plan that we’re currently involved in and were declined on every count,” she said.
The increase would affect both single employees, who could potentially see a $25 increase per pay period to their health insurance premiums; and families, who could be looking at a $86 increase per pay period.
No decision was made regarding how the county will deal with the increase in cost. Further discussion was tabled until the June 13 meeting.
“This increase is what it is,” said MacDonnell. “Really, our decision is, what are we going to do with the hand we are dealt?’”
The commissioners also ratified a $3,000 grant, which will go to Bent County Golden Age Transportation, the county’s on-demand transit program that takes the elderly and/or disabled individuals, or those without transportation, to local businesses so that they can run their errands.
“Fuel costs have been fairly stable, but labor costs, with minimum wage going up, has affected this,” said County Administrator Calvin Feik.
The grant is through the Colorado Area Agency on Aging, which provides grants to counties so they can provide for their aging population.
The grant discussed June 6 overs a large portion of the cost of the program, with Bent County picking up the additional costs.
MacDonnell moved to approve the ratification, Commissioner Chuck Netherton seconded, and the motion was passed unanimously.
The commissioners also approved a loan to the Regional Emergency Medical and Trauma Service Advisory Councils. The loan is $2,500, designed to help the group get whole and working again, it was said.
The group will have plenty of time to pay back the loan, with no timetable set. Motion to approve the loan was made by Netherton, MacDonnell seconded, and the issue passed unanimously.
The commissioners meet at 9 a.m. the first, second and fourth Thursday of each month at the county courthouse. Meetings are open to the public.