Supervisors approve new health plan

Published 7:00 pm Friday, March 11, 2022

Lincoln County supervisors discussed updated numbers for the county’s health insurance program Thursday. In the end, they decided to renew what they already had — with a few changes — rather than go with an option that would have county employees paying much more.

The board decided to stay with United HealthCare and Gulf Guaranty to provide its health benefits, mainly because no other insurance company will insure the county due to the high number and expense of county claims.

The main differences between what the county had and what it renewed involved premiums. “No matter what we do, it’s going to cost more — the premiums are going to be higher,” County Administrator Daniel Calcote told the board.

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County employees were paying zero a month for the employee only, which remains unchanged; $211.62 a month for the employee and spouse; $116.67 a month for the employee plus children; and $418.46 a month for the employee and family.

Now employees will pay $282.17 for the employee and spouse (a $70.55 increase); $203 ($36.39 more) for the employee and children; and $521.95 ($103.49 more) for the employee plus family. 

The new plan will cost the county $55,808.32 more per month. The previous plan cost the county $165,345.97 a month and the new one will be $221,154.79 per month. 

A third option would cost the county less by shifting more financial responsibility to the employee. It would have cost the county $209,831.98 per month, and the premiums would have cost $99.32 extra for an employee and spouse, $59.68 extra for the employee and spouse, and $128.67 extra per month for an employee and family.

“We’ve got to take care of our people,” District 1’s Jerry Wilson said. District 4’s Eddie Brown agreed, saying the county employees have to be considered in order to keep good people working for the county.

In other news, supervisors approved paying $3,000 to Lewis Brown for rental of the Norfield voting precinct at $300 per year on a 10-year agreement.

Supervisors also agreed to a two-week burn ban after County Forester Steve Williams said he was concerned after a fire near Monticello was very hard to get under control. 

“I think in two weeks, the grass will be a little greener,” he said. “But I’m worried about Saturday when a cold front is coming through. We need to keep that in mind. I think it’ll be much better in two weeks.”