Insurance costs hurting governmentsPublished 9:59am Friday, August 23, 2013
With the uncertainty surrounding health care costs, government entities have to find a way to be flexible without putting more of a burden on the taxpayers.
Unfortunately, that means government employees may be asked to pick up more of their share of insurance premiums or pay higher deductibles.
Lawrence County may face an additional $1 million expense due to the high volume of claims this year, leaving the county commissioners scrambling to figure out a way to overcome this additional expense.
The current ideas to review deductibles, create an account and shop for proposals all make good financial sense.
It is reasonable to expect government agencies to have rainy day funds to address these sort of unforeseen expenses but it also makes sense to look at ways to ensure that individuals receiving health care pay a proportionate amount.
Often times contracts are locked at a percentage for multiple years at a time. So, even though employees may pay a little more if premiums go up, it doesn’t often address the shortfall because the government entity has a much larger burden.
Whether it is benefit re-openers that allow this to be negotiated each year or building in an increasing scale each year, something has to be done to ensure health care doesn’t bankrupt our local governments — especially considering they will find ways to force taxpayers to foot the bill.
This is an uncertain time when it comes to health care costs. Governments need to have the ability to adjust on the fly.