Health insurance costs to rise next year for Jasper County, employees

Taxpayers now have an idea what Jasper County employee insurance costs will be next year.

At its Tuesday, Oct. 22, meeting, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors approved next year’s health and life insurance, long-term disability and dental coverage service providers. Currently, the county pays $159,691.89 per month for its share of premiums. That amount is estimated to increase to $178,039.90 per month next year.

Robert Meller, an employee benefit consultant who negotiates on behalf of the county, said this would be an increase of 11.5 percent. He recommended the county change health insurance providers.

Wellmark-Blue Cross/Blue Shield was selected as the new health insurance provider. The county will pay $164,357.38 per month in premiums.Delta Dental was retained for dental insurance, which will cost the county $5,555.03 per month.

Principal Life Company will provide life insurance and long-term disability coverage, which will cost the county $4,143.89 per month. Principal also will provide vision insurance at a cost of $1,115.40 per month.

The new prices and coverages start Jan. 1 for county employees.

Also at that meeting, the board approved County Sanitarian Kevin Luetters’ request that the board waive its right to appeal to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on Judson Vos’ upcoming hog confinement project. That would allow Vos to begin construction, which would expand his operation from 2,400 to 4,800 head, before the weather turns.

The Secondary Roads Department also presented two measures for the board’s approval. The first granted final approval to start the asphalt overlay project on county blacktop T38.

The project is expected to take several months and will begin in January.

Secondary Roads Department also received approval to vacate a portion of Main Street in Killduff. The road was never opened to the public and is on a citizen’s private property. The citizen made the request, and because the road was never opened for public travel, public hearings weren’t necessary.

In other business:

• Jasper County Director of Veteran’s Affairs Chris Chartier quarterly report was approved. His office allocated $20,662.76 during the last quarter and has $77,362.24 remaining for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

• The board selected Nov. 5 as the final date to take bids on the county’s crop ground. Sealed bids must be turned into the auditor’s office before 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 5. Brock advised the board not to include pasture/timberland in the bidding process due to low interest in the past.