City of Chrisman trying to balance health insurance

By GARY HENRY ghenry@prairiepress.net
Posted 11/23/20

CHRISMAN — The issue of providing spouse/family health insurance for Chrisman city employees is proving a difficult challenge.

Commissioner Cory Chaney has been looking at plans, talking to …

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City of Chrisman trying to balance health insurance

Posted

CHRISMAN — The issue of providing spouse/family health insurance for Chrisman city employees is proving a difficult challenge.

Commissioner Cory Chaney has been looking at plans, talking to employees and his fellow commissioners trying to find a solution. The city offers health insurance for its six full-time employees, but like most employee sponsored plans, the insurance does not include spouses or families.

One of the problems Chaney is confronting is health insurance policies are not consistent across the board, whether it be for an employee only or an extended option that includes family members. He said one of the younger employees has declined city coverage because thanks to the American Health Care Act, it is more affordable for that individual to continue on his parents’ health insurance. Another employee has insurance through a spouse, and it comes down to maybe two employees wanting to add a spouse or family option to their coverage.

Such options are not cheap. Chaney said, depending on the plan, offering additional coverage for families can add between $674 and $1,400, to the monthly premiums already being paid.

“There are lots of ways to crunch the numbers,” said Chaney, adding he cannot be certain how well the different plans from Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Health Alliance match regarding coverage, deductibles, maximum out of pocket expenses and other details in the arcane world of health insurance.

“We want to make sure we are looking apples-to-apples,” said mayor Dan Owen. “We aren’t getting anywhere.”

Chaney said conversations with the other commissioners has revealed they are OK with the city continuing to pay part of the premium for the employees but want any additional cost for including family coverage to be the employees’ responsibility.

Commissioner Rodney Wolfe urged caution before making any decision.

“I don’t want to go backward for employees, if they have to pay more out of pocket,” said Wolfe, adding it would be better for the employees to be part of the decision rather than the council acting alone.

The health insurance matter was tabled for another month to do more research.

City treasurer Brittaney Ford placed a draft COVID-19 policy before the council. She said the document is an amalgam of the policy adopted by the Chrisman Community Unit #6 School District and information supplied by the state. After a review, Wolfe suggested it should be the city’s responsibility to pay for testing if employees are exposed to the virus as a result of their work.

This matter was also tabled

for action to a later date.

“I submitted the plan to the health department for review, but I have not heard back,” said Ford.

The long-standing issue of replacing the pavilion in Centennial Park is finally making headway. Commissioner Thad Crispin reported the city engineering firm is to let bids next week for building a new pavilion, and the goal is to have the project finished in March or April.

Wolfe reported a high-service pump at the well is making a noise that may indicate a bearing is going bad.

“It’s pumping and working,” said Wolfe, adding he wants to delay an expensive repair, if possible, until learning the timetable for laying the pipes to carry water from Paris to Chrisman.

Plans for that project are currently under review for funding by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and the final authorization to start construction. Wolfe assured the council delaying the pump repair does not pose a risk for the city since a backup pump is on hand and can be quickly put into service.

Police chief Tom Dolan reported a burglary occurred over the weekend that resulted in the theft of several guns, and he is investigating another criminal sexual assault allegation.

In an action item, the city council approved a Christmas bonus of $150 for full-time city employees and $75 for part-time employees, who worked at least 300 hours. The city has six full-time employees and five part-time people.