City Employee’s Health Coverage Costs.
The Lake Geneva Meeting of the Whole met on Monday night. And it was a great meeting. The main subject discussed, since no business can be voted upon at these special meetings, was the issue of charging the city employees more for their group medical coverage. That coverage is currently self-insured, even though the city’s size does not warrant such a plan (financially). Also, a self-insured plan allows city management to know all the physical problems and conditions of the employees because they have to approve all claims. Currently, the city leadership is roughly divided on supporting the employees. “Cordite” Kordus,Mr. Slash and Burn Alderperson, wanted the employees strung up to see how much premium blood could be squeezed from their hanging bodies. Alderpersons Hedlund and Gelthing were carrying the ropes and hooks to do the job.
Fortunately, Lake Geneva’s affable, friendly and ‘straight arrow’ mayor was firmly behind the employees. It is beginning to look a lot like the employee premium issue will be sent into next year. Quite possibly, by that time, the city will discover that the brokerage firm they are supposedly tied to has no hold over them, and that a real insurance program to cover the employees is the only way to go. The GSR says give the Lake Geneva employees their confidentiality, and a decent plan that keeps the promises made by former city administrators and councils. They also note that Mr. Kordus and company are welcome to head on down to Chicago where promises mean a whole lot less than they do in Wisconsin.
The Lake Geneva Meeting of the Whole session started with a discussion on how the listening session was to be run.
Alderman Chappell wanted to have an open discussion with dialogue between the speakers and the council where they could question each other. Kordus said that the order was for the council to listen to the speakers and then discuss the issue after it. (Terry O’Neill, a citizen present, spoke up and said “suspend the rules”). Alderman Chappell then made the motion to suspend the rules to permit an open dialogue between the council members and the speakers. Her motion was seconded and it was unanimously passed. So the city council had a rare open discussion with the member of the audience that spoke up.
The first person to speak was a police officer who had handed out a graph showing how much the claims had been dropped due to the employee efforts to reduce costs. Using a 6 months rolling average claims from July 2015 to July 2016 the average monthly cost dropped from $174,259 a month ($2.1 million a year rate) to $109,788 a month ($1.3 million a year rate). His primary point was give us another year to continue to lower the costs even further. The city comptroller Peg Pollitt spoke up strongly in favor giving the city employees another year to bring the cost down even further, and spoke highly of the work, effort and the results that the employees had made in reducing the cost of their health insurance. Although there has been a 6 month rolling average reduction in cost ($400,000 actual compared to the July 2015 start) and a projected $800,000 yearly reduction in the healthcare costs, what was not explained nor asked by anyone was why there had been the drastic increase in the health care costs in the 5-;month period between December of 2014 and May 2015 where the 6 month rolling rate had jumped from $107,903 a month (the $1.3 million a year rate) to $184,564 a month (a $2.2 million dollar rate.) That $900,000 spike in the city’s healthcare costs is unexplained, and it needs to be explained. The reason it needs to be explained is that kind of spike as shown in the graph would take almost a $200,000 increase in the city’s health expenditures for 5 consecutive months, and if it was from a person or from several persons it should have been cover by the city’s catastrophic health insurance plan that protects the city from catastrophic expenses.
Something doesn’t seem right with the numbers that were presented. There are scenarios that have nothing to do with healthcare costs that could explain a million dollar bump in healthcare costs ($200,000/month x 5 months = one million dollars). Especially since the records before December 2014 are no longer available because Lake Geneva switched brokers. Incidentally, as the city reviews its medical/dental plans for its employees it should consider that the claims and administration fees for both plans are nearly exactly the same as the expenses paid for only medical insurance for a family of four with a regular insurance plan. That does not include dental!
Local Home Break-In.
Dan Derrick, the assistant fire chief in Lake Geneva, had his home broken into. On Monday afternoon Dan returned to his home on Conant Street in Lake Geneva. As he entered the house he heard a commotion. He went to the window to look out and a man wearing a blue baseball cap was running across the lawn away from his house. The screen from a bedroom window was on the lawn, as well, and furnishings had been knocked over inside the room. It’s likely, according to Dan, that the intruders (he thinks there was more than one) were interrupted just after they got inside, by his returning home. The police are still gathering evidence. Dan is confident the burglars will eventually be caught. Derrick owns and operates the funeral home over on Highway 120 in east Lake Geneva. Dan’s motto is “don’t hurry, we can wait.”
Pearce’s Corn Maze
Living Here in lake Geneva is Fun