New health plan will save city big

-A A +A
By Kristin Beck

A new health insurance plan is expected to save the city of Carrollton and Carrollton Utilities thousands of dollars each year.

Mayor Gene McMurry and CU Manager Bill Osborne have been working about three months on changing the city’s health insurance plan. Eight Northern Kentucky institutions have joined together to create the group, which has not yet been named.

Employees will be covered under two networks, Bluegrass Family Health and Northern Kentucky Health Span. Bluegrass covers doctors and hospitals in the area of Carroll County, Louisville, Lexington, Madison, Ind., and Jeffersonville, Ind., while Health Span covers 100 percent of hospitals and 98 percent of doctors in Northern Kentucky, McMurry said. “Everything we currently have access to, we will continue to have access to, probably a few more,” he said.

There are 432 employees currently in the plan, with the most working for Northern Kentucky Area Development District.

The city has 11 singles, eight employee-spouse, four families and one employee-child that will be on the insurance, and CU has 27 employees covered.

Currently, the city is spending $21,260 per month on premiums through Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. With the new insurance, that will decrease to about $15,000-$15,500, with an estimated savings of $67,000 per year for the city, McMurry said. Osborne estimated CU will save about $98,000 in the first year.

Osborne said the city will be locked into the group for three years. A committee has been appointed to write an inter-local agreement, which he will bring to council. Every entity involved will have representation on the board. The group plans to begin with the new plan July 1.

Another benefit is that once the claims are paid and administrative costs are paid, the rest of the money from premiums stays in the group, McMurry said.

The mayor said the group will contract with a company like MedBen to handle the claims. Councilman Robb Adams, who works full-time at Union Fire Protection District, said they are currently enrolled in this plan, and MedBen is a great company to work with.

Other entities were invited to be in the group, but they had higher-risk employees and dropped out, McMurry said.

Councilman Mike Gordon asked if the city could be dropped from the group if its employees become too high risk. Osborne said they have not worked out those details yet, but does not expect it to be any different than it is now, with the city being out on the open market. 

“Bill and I both think it’s a win-win,” McMurry said. “The employees will never know we switched insurances. They’ll never know the difference.”


2Rivers employee hours discussed

Billie Branham, who works part-time at the 2Rivers Campground, came to council Monday to talk about the number of hours she is working. The mayor asked that she come because council was questioning the amount she is working.

Among her duties are cleaning the bathhouse, taking phone reservations and providing children’s activities for guests.

Branham is scheduled to work 20-25 hours per week at $12 per hour, according to the budget. Last week, she worked 34 hours because of an event scheduled at the campground over the weekend.

Branham explained to council that guests want to have someone there when they check in and check out. People also call her personal cell phone and want to make reservations because their computer is not working at home, the website is not working properly or they just prefer talking to a person.

McMurry said he told Branham when there are not campers, go to the campground and check on things for an hour or so and then leave.

Branham said she also is having problems with the new time clock that was installed and is now counting her hours both with the clock and on paper.

Councilwoman Ann Deatherage said she was not aware that the city had purchased a time clock.

Councilman Mike Gordon said Branham is the only employee with a time clock and did not know if that was allowed.

McMurry said he installed it to add some accountability to her hours because she does not have a direct supervisor with her every day. However, if they decide not to use it he will remove it or he will fix it.

Councilman Robb Adams said the mayor manages the campground budget, including payroll, so it is up to him to make sure the city does not go over budget.

Branham said she has been working weekends with events scheduled, but no one told her whether she needs to work every weekend. She said she also enjoys camping and would like to be able to do so on some weekends. McMurry said he told Branham when she needs to be there, be there. He said he wanted council to be aware of how many hours she is working because they have asked. He said he would try to manage the hours the best he can.


Wright awarded surplus property

The city received three bids for the surplus goods from the Ransdell property, located on Sycamore Street next to the Carrollton Public Works building. Council accepted the high bid of $272 from Amy Wright. The other two bids were Billie Branham, $50, and Rita’s Antiques and Décor, $250.


Upcoming events

June 7: Carrollton Fire Department hosts the White Castle Crave Mobile at the fire department, 750 Clay Street, from noon – 5 p.m. Ten percent of the proceeds will benefit the Christmas with a Fireman Program and Crusade for Children.

July 10, 17: Champions For A Drug Free Carroll County hosts a town hall meeting in Sanders from 6-7:30 p.m. July 10 at the community park. They will host the same meeting in Worthville July 17 at the same time. The guest speaker for both meetings will be Kentucky State Police Trooper Dave Roberts, and the topic will be heroin.