CHIPLEY — Washington County employees will not see an increase in their health insurance premium in the coming year, thanks to the Board of County Commissioners’ decision on Tuesday morning.


CHIPLEY — Washington County employees will not see an increase in their health insurance premium in the coming year, thanks to the Board of County Commissioners’ decision on Tuesday morning.



J. Scott Olson, investment advisor with Olson Insurance & Financial Services of Tallahassee, presented the costs of the county’s Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plan to the board during a special meeting.



“As you instructed at the last meeting, I calculated the expenses covering the employee-only cost,” Olson said. “We recalculated it and covering the employee only costs increased the total cost by $10,000.”



The county can expect to pay about $864,757.92 to provide insurance to the county’s 106 enrolled employees, which is an increase of $172,790 over last year’s expense, according to information Olson provided to the board.



“You basically have three plans, I call them ‘gold, bronze and silver,’” Olson said. In the highest level of benefits, there are 53 employees enrolled, and the mid-tier benefits have 37 employees participating. Only 16 county employees are enrolled in the lowest level of health insurance coverage.



“Obviously our plan is fairly economical if the bulk of our employees are in the highest level of coverage shows that our program is pretty affordable,” said Chairman Alan Bush.



Commissioner Todd Abbott objected to the presentation. “We’re not going to let our agent dictate what coverage our employees receive,” he said.



Abbott asked what it would cost for the county to absorb all the proposed health care premium increases. Under the proposal Olson presented to the board, only the “employee only” coverage would see no increase. Family plans would see increases ranging from  19.6 percent to 23.1 percent, however.



“It would cost about $15,000 to cover all the increases,” Olson said. “That would be $25,000 including the $10,000 for employee only.”



Olson noted that the amounts were approximate because there has not been an enrollment held for county employees, who may add dependents to the plan.



“We won’t have final numbers until after we have an enrollment,” he said.



County Coordinator David Corbin asked when Olson would like to hold the open enrollment for the county employees.



“As soon as possible,” Olson said. “Next week if we can.” Olson said he would meet with Corbin to schedule the enrollment period for the county employees following Tuesday’s meeting.



Commissioner Charles Brock made the motion to pay for the insurance including the $25,000 increase so county employees would not see an increase in their health care costs next year. Abbott seconded the motion, much to the surprise of Brock.



“You’re agreeing with me?” Brock asked, jokingly.



“If you can’t beat them, join them,” Abbott replied.



The board’s vote was unanimous.



The two also combined to make the motion that the county adopt the proposed voluntary dental plan for employees, which will remain the same but will see a slight increase in cost. Employee only will increase $3.79 a month, a 13.98 percent increase. Family, spouse and child plans will increase about 14 percent, or an increase ranging from $4.01 to $6.13 depending on the number of dependents.



“I’ve had phone calls from a few employees asking about pay bonuses,” Commissioner Lynn Gothard said. “Now, David, you can tell them they just got it.”