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Lawrence board signs three-year contract, joins insurance consortium

Nov. 13, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- The Lawrence County Board of Commissioners signed a three-year contract Tuesday with CEBCO, a consortium of nearly 30 Ohio counties, to provide health insurance for county employees.

The county will pay about a 10 percent increase in health care costs, about $146,000 more than this year, said Commissioner Les Boggs. The cost the employees will pay depends on which plan the employees select and what deductible they opt for, Boggs said.

"The benefits are better than what we have," Boggs said. "We're in a Blue Cross/Blue Shield network which about everyone accepts."

"We don't have a breakdown on the rates yet," said Chris Kline, deputy county auditor. "We'll probably have something in a day or two."

Earlier this year, county officials feared some increased claims could lead to a $1 million increase in health care costs next year. The impact on the general fund with the new contract was expected to be less than $150,000, Boggs said.

Commissioner Bill Pratt said some of the employees will face increases of 5 to 6 percent. However, due to the Affordable Care Act, some employees with a single plan could pay 25 to 30 percent less.

"The insurance committee recommended the change," Pratt said. "The coverage is better, the deductible is better. It puts us in a larger group with 326,000 other people in 28 Ohio counties. We became the 29th county to join the consortium."

The switch allows the county to better control costs, said Commissioner Freddie Hayes.

Shawn Spencer, an employee in the sheriff's department, said the insurance committee members favored the CEBCO plan. "We know it will go up," she said of the family plan health care costs. "Every year the rates go up."

The county considered bids from United and Central States before making the switch, Pratt said.

Employees can choose between a $750 or a $1,000 deductible plan and a single plan or a family plan, Pratt said.

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