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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Instead of reducing village employees’ health insurance premiums by $2 to $5 per month this year, the Colfax Village Board has decided to put $3,400 from a health insurance refund toward next year’s premiums.
When the village started providing health insurance for employees through WEA Trust three years ago, the village paid a double premium for one month “to get into the plan,” said Lynn Niggemann, village administrator-clerk-treasurer, at the Colfax Village Board’s January 13 meeting.
The village received a letter dated December 23, 2019, from WEA Trust that states, “It has been determined by a majority vote to utilize half of the initial buy-premium fund as a part of the 2020 health plan renewal to reduce the overall increase [in health insurance premiums] by 2.7 percent. This decision will result in each group receiving a credit in the form of a check to be received by January 31, 2020.”
Half of Colfax’s buy-in premium fund amount is $3,400.31.
Health insurance premiums with WEA Trust increased by 11.2 percent for 2020, Niggemann said.
The refund of the buy-in premium is intended to reduce the 11.2 percent increase by 2.7 percent so that the actual increase is 8.5 percent, she said.
The village has already budgeted for the insurance premium representing an 11.2 percent increase, Niggemann pointed out.
The question, then, is what would the village like to do with the $3,400? she asked.
The village has seven employees who receive health insurance through the village, Niggemann said.
Colfax pays 90 percent of the health insurance premiums, and the employees pay 10 percent.
Under the premiums set for 2020, an employee with a family will pay $181.71 of the monthly premium of $1,817.10.
If the $3,400 refund were applied to this year’s health insurance premiums, an employee under the family plan would pay $176.80, representing a decrease in the premium of $4.91.
For an employee with children, the premium would decrease from $140.92 monthly to $137.11, representing a decrease in the premium of $3.79.
For an employee with a spouse, the premium would decrease from $144.63 per month to $140.73, representing a decrease of $3.90.
For a single employee, the monthly premium would decrease from $74.17 to $72.16, representing a decrease of $2.01.
The current monthly premium for an employee with children is $1,409.17; for an employee and a spouse the monthly premium is $1,446.33; and for a single employee, the monthly premium is $741.65.
The deductible this year for employees under the WEA Trust plan is $4,000 for a single person and $8,000 for a family.
The annual premium for Colfax this year will be $125,937.
The Colfax Village Board also decided to discontinue a contribution of $1,000 for each employee for a Health Savings Account that was started last year to help offset the cost of the deductible.
When the village signed up with WEA Trust, the extra month’s premium came out of the general fund, Niggemann told the village board.
The money could be used to put toward next year’s increase in health insurance premiums, said Anne Jenson, village trustee.
The village board could place the money either in an assigned fund balance for the health insurance premiums next year or in a restricted fund balance, Niggemann said.
An assigned fund is more fluid, and the village board could assign the money to another line item, if necessary, she noted.
The money could be used to “soften the blow a little bit next year” if it were put into an assigned fund balance for health insurance premiums, said Margaret Burcham, village trustee.
“We would be prolonging softening the blow, in other words,” said Carey Davis, village trustee.
If the money is put into an assigned fund balance for next year, the employees’ health insurance premiums will have to be “adjusted somehow,” either by a percentage adjustment in the employees’ premiums or in some other way, Niggemann said.
The Colfax Village Board unanimously approved a motion to put the $3,400.31 into an assigned fund balance for health insurance premiums.
In addition to Burcham, Davis and Jenson, Village Trustees Keith Burcham, Mark Halpin, Logan Michels and Village President Scott Gunnufson voted in favor of the motion.
In other business, the Colfax Village Board:
• Approved a Class “B” / “Class B” retailer’s license for the Colfax Woman’s Club for the annual wine and beer tasting fundraiser at the Colfax Health and Rehabilitation Center on January 25.
• Approved a 2020 second hand jewelry dealer’s license for Nancy Odom Mouledoux/Twice Blessed Treasures.