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Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Council learns of dramatic increase in insurance premiums

By Margie Wuebker
NEW BREMEN - With an Oct. 1 deadline looming, New Bremen Village Council learned Tuesday night that medical insurance premiums will increase dramatically.
Randee Henson of Stolly Insurance, which administers the village's current Anthem plan, pegged the increases in the range of nearly 23 to 41 percent.
If the village stays with the Anthem plan that carries a $500 deductible for individuals and a $1,000 deductible for families, Henson said the increase would be 40.9 percent. That means the village faces a monthly premium of $26,106.62 instead of the current $18,648.98 premium.
Anthem initially predicted the increase as 47 percent but managed to shave 5.5 percent.
Henson recommended switching to the Ohio Plan Health Consortium with Medical Mutual. The plan, designed for small municipalities with up to 50 employees, represents a 22.8 percent increase with a monthly premium of $22,912. That rate would be locked in until Jan. 1, 2013, and deductibles would remain the same.
Small businesses and municipalities face challenges as the pool of health insurance providers shrinks due to uncertainty regarding recently enacted legislation.
"I don't know if it (Obama's health care plan) will go through, but it is law," Henson said. "It is headed to the Supreme Court, and there is likely to be a big battle heading up to the presidential election."
The village's 23 employees pay a portion of the monthly premium.
No action was taken. Village administrator Wayne York indicated another insurance proposal is expected at the Sept. 27 council meeting.
York updated council on plans for reconstruction of First Street between Jefferson Street and state Route 66 in 2012. A public hearing and resolution of necessity is needed so the project can proceed as soon as The ABC Center begins summer vacation.
In other action, council:
• Received an update on the installation of new thermoplastic pavement markings at designated intersections along state highways at a cost of approximately $18,000.
• Authorized York to seek bids for water softening salt as well as sodium hypochloride for water department and swimming pool use.
• Learned Quinter Well Drilling of Burkettsville will begin enlarging a test well at the Isern farm off Amsterdam Road in two weeks.
• Approved a $2,743.50 change order to Donald Sommer Excavating for additional costs associated with the Kuest Ditch project.
• Reminded residents of the Pumpkinfest Sept. 23 and 24. This year's challenge involves giant pumpkins versus a monster truck. A film crew will be on hand covering the event for cable television channels.
• Set 6 to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 as trick or treat night. Cider Time, sponsored by the New Bremen American Legion and Sons of the American Legion, takes place 1 p.m. Oct. 30 behind La Piazza in New Bremen.
• Scheduled a Sept. 22 tour of the parks department, public works, recycling and former electric department buildings to review storage space.
• Learned mayor's court fines, fees and forfeitures totaled $1,260 for the month of August.
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