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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board has agreed to pay 90 percent of the premium for group health insurance to cover employees and 100 percent of the dental plan.
The total monthly cost to the village if all employees choose to take Medica insurance with the village paying 90 percent would be $5,700, the Colfax Village Board learned at the April 14 meeting.
The total cost for the dental insurance if all employees enroll would be $600 per month, for a total of $6,300 for group health and dental.
The village previously was paying $5,400 per month for employees to put into a Health Savings Account (HSA) to buy their own insurance and another $1,100 per month for dental insurance for a total of $6,500.
Changing dental policies represents a significant savings, said Jackie Ponto, village administrator-clerk-treasurer.
If the village board had approved paying 100 percent of the health insurance premiums, the total would have been about $6,900 per month to cover all of the employees.
As of January 1, under the federal Affordable Care Act, paying into an HSA without a group health insurance plan is no longer legal.
The village board has two options: continue to pay the employees $900 each, which would constitute a raise for the employees, and let them continue to buy their own health insurance; or go with a group health plan, Ponto said.
The system of paying into an HSA prior to January 1 was a pre-tax benefit. If the village were to pay the employees $900 more per month now as a raise in wages, the employees would pay taxes on the increase and then would also still have to buy health insurance. she said.
Switching companies and paying 90 percent of the health insurance premium is the same amount as staying with the current dental health plan but only paying 80 percent of the health insurance premium for the employees, noted Scott Gunnufson, village president.
The group health insurance will be administered through Kado and Associates out of Menomonie.
The Colfax Village Board initially discussed group health insurance for the employees at the March 24 meeting and asked for information on the amounts if the village were to pay 80 percent, 90 percent and 100 percent of the premiums.
The plan approved by the Colfax Village Board is the Medica Silver plan.
The Silver plan has a deductible of $1,750. Medica’s Bronze plan has a deductible of $4,950.
Monthly premiums for full-time employees for the Silver plan range between $1,100 and $1,200, and monthly premiums for the Bronze plan range between $700 and $1,000.
Under the Silver plan, the employee would be required to pay all medical expenses up to $1,750, and once the deductible is met, the employee would pay 25 percent of the medical expenses, up to a maximum out of pocket of $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family.
Under the Bronze plan, the employee would pay all medical expenses up to $4,950, and once the deductible is met, the employee would pay 50 percent of the medical expenses, up to a maximum out of pocket of $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family.
The total cost to the village for paying 90 percent of the group health insurance premium and 100 percent of the dental plan will be about $75,600 per year.
The total cost to the village for paying 100 percent of the group health and the dental would be about $83,000.
The total cost to the village for paying 80 percent of the group health and the dental would be about $68,000.
Ponto noted that the premiums quoted to the village board do not include group health insurance and dental insurance for the new police chief.
A new chief has not yet been hired, and the cost for the insurance will not be known until a contract has been negotiated with the new police chief, Ponto said.
Wisconsin’s Act 10, signed into law in 2011, eliminated almost all collective bargaining rights for public employees so that they are no longer able to negotiate benefits such as health insurance premiums.
Act 10 does not apply to police officers, who are still able to bargain collectively and can negotiate benefits, such as health insurance premiums.