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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Village Board has denied providing a $1,000 Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution and stipend for village employees to offset an increase in health insurance deductibles.
The village board denied the benefit for village employees at the December 9 meeting.
The Colfax Village Board approved a health insurance plan with WEA Trust at the November 25 meeting that increased deductibles for employees from $3,000 for an individual and $6,000 for a family to $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for a family.
Last year, the village board approved a $1,000 contribution to HSAs for village employees enrolled under the village’s insurance plan and a $1,000 stipend for village employees not enrolled in the village’s insurance plan to offset the cost to employees of increasing the deductibles to $3,000 and $6,000.
Increasing the deductibles last year saved the village a certain amount of money — more money than the village paid out in HSA contributions and stipends.
Even with the increase in deductibles this year, the village is paying an 11 percent increase in the insurance premium, said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at the December 9 meeting.
For 2020, the village will pay a total insurance premium of $125,937, representing a $12,684 increase over last year’s health insurance premium.
The village is “lucky,” Niggemann said, because some municipalities are paying a 30 percent increase.
The village has 12 full-time employees, and seven or eight of them are enrolled in the village’s health insurance plan, she said.
Even with a $1,000 contribution to an HSA, employees enrolled in the family plan will still pay an extra $1,000 on the deductible before the insurance starts covering healthcare costs, Niggemann noted.
The village is obligated to pay 90 percent of the health insurance premium, but the village board did not budget for payments to HSAs or stipends for other employees, said Keith Burcham, village trustee.
Since the village board did not budget for the HSAs and stipends, Burcham wondered where the money would come from.
The additional money could come from the general fund balance, and if the village had underspent on the 2019 budget, the money could be allocated to the HSAs and stipends, Niggemann said.
Unfortunately, the village overspent the 2019 budget by about $50,000 for unexpected repairs to the ceiling in the Department of Public Works building.
The ceiling in the building collapsed because it was improperly installed by a contractor.
The village’s insurance company would not cover the repair, and too much time had elapsed to require the contractor to cover the repair.
A motion to not provide $1,000 for village employees’ HSAs accounts and as a stipend to other village employees was approved on a vote of four “yes” to two “no.”
Voting in favor of the motion were village trustees Margaret Burcham, Keith Burcham, Mark Halpin and Village President Scott Gunnufson.
Village trustees Anne Jenson and Carey Davis voted against the motion.