GREENCASTLE -- Putnam County employees have until 4 p.m. today to give their input on proposed changes to the county's health insurance offerings.
At an emergency meeting of the Putnam County Commissioners on Friday, a group of county employees and the spouses of some employees gathered to hear what those changes might be.
Currently, the county offers employees two plans -- one with a $250 deductible and one with a $1,000 deductible. Employees have the option to choose plans that cover only themselves, themselves and their spouses, themselves and their children or themselves and their entire families.
Employee contributions for insurance currently range from $34 per pay period for an employee only plan with the $1,000 deductible to $151 per pay period for the $250 deductible plan for an employee and his or her family.
To help cover rising insurance costs, county employees will see an increase in their insurance premiums. The county's insurance carrier, HBG, can also offer county employees a $500 deductible plan -- but the county's 200 employees only make it eligible to offer two plans, so one of the three will have to be cut.
"I know what we're thinking," Commission-er Gene Beck told the audience members at Friday's meeting. "We're thinking it would probably be best to have no $250 deductible and go with the $500 and $1,000 plans. But we're going to leave that option up to you. If you have feelings on this, you need to get them to us by the close of business on Monday."
Council member Kristina Warren said whichever plans more employees were in favor of would be the ones offered.
"Majority will rule," she said.
While insurance costs for the county have increased every year -- this year by 5.5 percent -- that cost has not been passed on to the employees for several years.
"We have a limited pot (to pay insurance premiums from)," Warren said. "Costs have been going up $10,000 a year."
Should the $250 and $1,000 deductible plans be chosen, employee contributions for them will increase 5 percent and 13.1 percent, respectively. Going to the $500 deductible would mean an increase of 8.6 percent for those employees currently on the $250 deductible plan.
Over 60 percent of county employees are now on the $250 deductible plan.
Department heads were asked to get information on the proposed plans to their employees Friday afternoon.
The commissioners will meet in the auditor's office at 4 p.m. today to make a final decision on what plans will be offered.
The county covers 85 percent of the premiums for employees who opt to take the insurance. Co-pays and drug coverage on the plans will not change. However, the coverage will go from 90 percent-10 percent to 80 percent-20 percent.
Some employees raised concerns about their contribution increases.
"I know one thing." Beck said. "I know two people who work for bigger companies -- one is Duke Energy and one is Eli Lilly -- and this is a lot cheaper than what they pay."