Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Answer? Another Pot of Money

I wondered how my colleagues would pay for the expansion of coverage in the county health plan that was approved last week. They dipped into another pot of money.

The answer is the medical insurance reserve fund. That's to avoid sticking county employees with an additional premium increase on top of the increase that will be necessary to cover the 14.2% increase in the cost of the existing county health plan.

But as Commissioner Kyle Hutchings said, the medical insurance reserve fund is not a risk-free or consequence-free option. If we exhaust that fund, what happens when a true crisis happens?

It's supposed to be a one-year subsidy from the medical insurance reserve fund. Will we jack up premiums for employees next year to cover the cost of continuing the expanded coverage?

The argument from the other side was basically that we will save money on health care by spending money on this expanded coverage.

There's also a credibility problem. I'm convinced that the situation of Commissioner Pam Tusa described in the Omaha World-Herald was an unfortunate sequence of events, not anything sinister. But it does create a possible perception that insiders were taking care of one of their own by providing coverage for a certain condition. The arbitrary way in which the new coverages were added does not help dispel the negative perception.

Only two commissioners (Hutchings and I) voted no, so the expanded coverage and extra funding are now county policy.

1 comment:

OmaSteak said...

First, you're deluding yourself if you think adding treating excess sweating to taxpayer paid county commissioner/employee health coverage wasn't added to "help" Commissioner Tusa. Second, if anyone believes that "avoiding future health care costs by adding fat reduction surgery" to the coverage is really going to happen, I have a brand new barely used pedestrian bridge over the muddy mo I'd like to sell you. The only good thing I've read about this mess is that you're moving to a health savings account based plan in the next couple of years. I just hope when that plan is implemented, the commissioners and employees are made to pay a significant portion of the costs instead of continuing to foist the costs onto property tax payers in Douglas county. IMHO, most county office workers are grossly underworked and overpaid. They stay there for a reason, they wouldn't find similar employment conditions in the private sector.