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Commissioners change employee health insurance premiums, celebrate local events

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Photo Credit: Seneca County Commissioners

Tiffin, Ohio — The Seneca County Board of Commissioners approved increases to the county contribution and county employee contributions to health insurance premiums Thursday morning.

First Insurance Employee Benefits Consultant Kim Bond presented the recommendations of the county’s health insurance committee to the board during the session.

Bond said there was a $325,085 fund balance in the health insurance fund as of Aug. 31st, and she said the projection for the end of the year is about $364,000.

She said the county typically aims to have about $200,000 as a minimum in that fund, and in volatile times like now, she said the recommendation is to keep that number to at least $250,000.

The county handles its health insurance program through CEBCO (County Employee Benefits Consortium of Ohio). Bond said CEBCO set an average increase in healthcare costs to counties of about 6.9 percent. She said Seneca County was among eight counties to receive the maximum increase of 13 percent. Bond shared some statistics on why the county had such an increase, including increases in claims, utilization and high-dollar claims.

She said CEBCO rated the county from July 2021-June 2022 and reported a loss ratio of about 153.7 percent. During this period of time, CEBCO paid about $1.3 million more than what was paid by the county and its employees.

The commissioners agreed to an 11 percent increase in the county’s contribution and a 3 percent increase in the county employees’ premium contributions. This is the first increase in county employees’ contributions since 2018.

The rest of the increase is to be covered out of the carryover in the health insurance fund. Bond said the county is projected to have about $290,000 in its health insurance fund by the end of 2023. The commissioners also began discussions about potentially changing the county’s contribution to employees’ Health Savings Accounts. In the past few years, the county has contributed $750 to single plans and $1,500 to family plans to match the contribution of employees. The board considered moving those numbers to $800 and $1,600 but made no decisions Thursday.

In other action, the commissioners used time during their reports to make note of and celebrate the success of several recent downtown events, including the Tiffin-Seneca Heritage Festival Parade that each of the commissioners participated in.

“From the bridge all the way down to St. Joe’s, I couldn’t believe how many people were downtown,” said Board President Anthony Paradiso. “I’m really proud of everything everyone is doing to make our community better.”

Commissioner Tyler Shuff also made note of the positive comments by visitors and those returning home to attend the festival and the parade.

“You hear people saying, ‘I can’t believe how far this place has come,’” Shuff said, adding that he thinks it’s great when people notice how much hard work is going on to improve the county and community. Shuff also thanked Seneca County Young Professionals for running a very successful downtown Tiffin Pizza Party last week.

In other action, the county received one bid for a lease of 7.51 acres of farmland in Hopewell Township. The bid was for $125 per acre, and it was offered by Smith Farms, of New Riegel.

During new business, the commissioners approved:

  • A $6,000 supplemental appropriation to the Ditch Maintenance Fund for supplies.
  • An $11,349.31 supplemental appropriation to the Ditch Maintenance Fund.
  • A $368.17 supplemental appropriation to the Foreclosure Special Projects Fund for software licenses/services.
  • A $400,000 supplemental appropriation to the Public Assistance Fund.
  • A $2,875 supplemental appropriation to the General Fund for contract services.
  • A $364,115.22 supplemental appropriation to the County Capital Projects Fund for work at the Seneca County Airport.
  • Authorizing Seneca County School of Opportunity Superintendent Lew Hurst to sign all change orders for the school’s parking lot project.
  • Accepting the plan design and establishing Seneca County’s premium contribution and the health insurance rates for 2023.
  • Designating the official representative and alternate for the purpose of voting at the annual meeting of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio in 2022.
  • Authorizing the county administrator and/or fiscal officer to sign purchase orders and appropriation adjustments for the commissioners’ office.

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