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Health costs drive county into reserves


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Higher-than-anticipated health care claims are forcing Bartholomew County to tap into its rainy day funds to keep the county’s insurance trust fund solvent.

County Auditor Barb Hackman said the insurance benefit trust fund is down to $73,000, and there are more than $200,000 in claims outstanding from health claims from county employees or their families.

“Within the last two months there have been several large, and I am talking large, claims that are coming through from the employees — unforeseen claims,” Hackman said.

Exact details of the claims or the affected employees are confidential due to the Health Insurance Privacy Act, Hackman said.

The county’s health insurance is self-funded. This year, the county put $2.3 million into the health insurance reserve fund and plans to put $2.4 million into it next year, Hackman said.

Money for the insurance comes from the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax funds, she said.

Employees also pay between $15 and $60 each pay period for health insurance, with deductibles ranging from $500 to $1,250, Hackman said.

The County Council will consider Tuesday moving $255,000 into the insurance fund from the county’s rainy day fund.

The $4.8 million in the rainy day fund is not slated for a particular use or limited by certain circumstances and can be used when needed by the county, Hackman said.

However, it also is not supported by a reoccurring amount of either property taxes or income taxes, Hackman said.

In some recent years, the County Council decided to drop 10 percent of the county’s remaining funds at year’s end into the rainy day fund.

County Council member Chris Ogle said at last week’s council work session that he would rather take the money from the general fund, which is estimated will have about $6 million remaining at the end of the year.

Ogle said that in his own business he prefers to keep a savings account to be used for the absolute last resort, While the county’s general fund is flush with cash, he said he would prefer to tap into that money.

However, Hackman said that the county’s budget adviser, Dan Eggermann, suggested the money be taken from the rainy day fund.

County Commissioners have suggested drawing down the rainy day fund and county general fund reserves to pay for a new county annex building on State Street.

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