County chooses CEBCO insurance

Published 10:30 am Thursday, November 14, 2013

Will cost general fund $146,000 more

CEBCO will be the county’s insurance carrier for the next three years for those employees not covered by union policies.

At a special meeting on Tuesday, Lawrence County Commissioners unanimously approved making the change from United Health.

“That was the recommendation of the insurance committee,” Commission President Bill Pratt said.

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CEBCO or County Employee Benefits Consortium of Ohio was started in 2004 by the County Commissioners Association of Ohio. Lawrence will make the 29th county in the state to join the consortium.

“This is a three-year commitment,” Pratt said. “We feel CEBCO will be a stronger organization in the future. We have that consortium with a broad base of employees, over 26,000 employees in those 29 counties.”

Cost to the general fund will be $1,308,638 or $146,674 more than the cost this year. That is if every employee stays in the same type of plan he or she has now.

Like United, CEBCO is offering plans with a choice of deductibles. United offered deductibles of $1,000 and $1,500 while CEBCO’s deductible are $750 and $1,000.

“That allows us to give employees the option to take the higher deductible to save them money and save the county money,” Pratt said.

Pratt anticipates premium costs would increase 5 to 6 percent each year, which should be less than the expected annual costs from other carriers.

“(The consortium) will help us keep our costs in reasonable rates,” he said. “It would be more consistent, where ours could go up and down.”

With an insurance carrier chosen, the commissioners are now working on a budget for 2014.

“We have started the process,” Pratt said. “We have figures from the auditor’s office on the certification. We will start as quick as we can.”

At the first of the month, the Lawrence County Budget Commission certified for the three sections of the general fund $13,376,610 of the $14,673,580 estimated to come into the county in 2014.

That compares to the $13,631,983 certified for this year. That figure, however, was the result of numerous additional certifications over the $13,366,610 that was originally certified in 2012.

When the budget commission made its certification for 2014, it made that with the caveat that there would be no additional certifications during the year.

However, Pratt said if more revenue comes in, he would like to see more certifications.

“I would hope there would be some other certifications, if it so happens that we have more revenue in sales tax than we have certified,” he said. “I don’t see why we can’t certify more throughout the year. Once you get six months into the year, you have an idea. We have to plan on their not being one, but there is nothing wrong about additional certifications.”