Free Insurance at an End for DuPage County Employees?

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 13, 2010 | Go to article overview

Free Insurance at an End for DuPage County Employees?


Byline: Jake Griffin jgriffin@dailyherald.com

Most of the same 2,700-plus DuPage County employees who likely won't be getting raises for the second year in a row may now start paying a monthly premium for health insurance they currently get for free.

The employees could be asked to pay $20 a month for health and dental insurance to cover a $1.3 million gap in county health insurance costs.

Some county board members who sat through Gallagher Benefit Services' presentation on the county's insurance needs at Tuesday's finance committee meeting were upset by the news. The county had budgeted only for a 10 percent spike in insurance costs instead of the 14.5 percent that Gallagher was reporting.

Board member Linda Kurzawa said the insurers' presentation was "completely unacceptable, and the numbers are completely out of whack."

Gallagher officials said claims from county employees with HMO coverage increased more than 35 percent last year. They put part of the blame for that on a wellness initiative they promoted and touted as having long-term insurance cost savings. More than 62 percent of the county's employees belong to an HMO.

Gallagher Client Manager John Thompson told the committee that employees find out at the wellness events they may be at risk medically and then consult their doctors. But he said that translates into savings later on because those employees may have gotten sicker without the health screenings offered by the wellness initiative.

But board members complained the Gallagher officials did not provide any data to support those theories.

"I want you to quantify what those savings will be," said board member Jeff Redick. "I have asked for that repeatedly and I know you don't want to give me a number. …

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