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Increase expected on insurance premiums

The cost of health insurance for the county is expected to go up next year. But by how much is still in negotiations.

At the Lawrence County Commission’s Tuesday work session, Jeremy Eastwood, the county’s insurance consultant, reported that the county’s loss-claims ratio was at 86 percent.

“That means for every dollar in premiums paid, 86 cents out of every dollar is going to claims,” Eastwood told the commissioners.

Because of that Eastwood expects United Health to raise its premiums.

“It would have to be 75 percent loss ratio,” he said, for there not to be any increase.

Right now the county pays out $2.8 million in premiums a year for employees covered by United Health.

Recently United Health gave the county 2 percentage points toward the premiums because employees participated in its wellness program.

“That is a good step,” Eastwood said. “We are a profitable group to United.”

Commission President Les Boggs authorized Eastwood to offer a 5 percent premium increase when Eastwood negotiates with United Health over the new premium amount.

“I’ve been satisfied (with United),” Boggs said. “Usually you hear if there are any complaints. I don’t think I have heard one this year.”