‘Premium Vacation’ Gives Lewis County Employees Money Back | lewis county

The two payments were waived by a Board of Legislators resolution unanimously passed during Tuesday’s meeting, following the pattern set last year. This year, that month is March.

County Manager Ryan M. Piche said that these “premium holidays” over the past few years are really about giving people back the money they have been paying in to the insurance fund to bring it up to a healthy balance.

Payments will instead be made with money from the internal service fund which has, according to the resolution, a balance of about $5.9 million, although $4 million was targeted as the optimum balance in 2015.

In 2015, the county’s insurance agent told the board that because it has a “self-funded policy,” meaning the county pays its own insurance claims, the projection for consistent hikes in health insurance costs and an average monthly payout on claims of $900,000 meant the fund balance should be maintained between $3.5 million and $4 million.

It was down to $2.3 million at that time, which was not seen as sustainable, and the solution to bring the balance up quickly was, in part, to raise premiums.

“Now we’re managing that (fund) and keeping it at an appropriate level,” Mr. Piche said. “It’s only fair to employees to give the money back when the health plan doesn’t need it.”

mr. Piche said 926 people — 651 active employees and 275 retirees — who work for and are insured by the county, including those at the Lewis County Health System, will benefit from the “holiday” payments.

The county and health system will also save some money as the total premiums will be paid using the fund balance, including the “employer” contribution.

Based on the $1,524.79 cost of the insurance each month for each person, 75% of which is paid by the county with the employee or retiree picking up the remaining 25%, employees will save about $381 each, although Mr. Piche said that is not a perfect number because the cost and the premium are not always the same.

The employers will save about $1,144, per each person insured with the total savings at about $1.41 million.

Total savings for current and past employees will be about $352,988.89.

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