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Employees of several Ogle County agencies face 50 percent increase in health insurance costs

The employees of several Ogle County agencies are facing an increase of more than 50 percent in what they pay for health insurance.

The Ogle County Board approved a total increase of 50.9 percent Tuesday for people who work at theVillage of Progress, Serenity Hospice & Home, Rock River Center, Ogle County Housing Authority, HOPE, and the Regional Office of Education.

Board chairman Kim Gouker said the insurance premiums will increase 22.9 percent and a surcharge will add another 28 percent.

He asked that the date the increases are effective be changed from Nov. 1 to Jan. 1 to allow the agencies to look for other coverage for their employees.

“The agencies affected would like to shop for other insurance,” Gouker said.

“This is a huge increase,” said board member Marcia Heuer, who is an employee of the Rock River Center.

“Our claims are up, our reserves are down,” Gouker said. “It is a hefty increase.”

The employees of the six affected “outside” agencies were invited several years ago to join the self-funded health insurance and dental plan sponsored by the county board for county employees.

Currently, 213 people are insured under the plan, approximately 180 of whom are county employees, Gouker said.

Premiums for county employees will also increase 22.9 percent next year, he said. However, county employees are not required to pay the surcharge.

Gouker said the surcharge increased substantially because the employees of the outside agencies had a higher percentage of claims than county employees in the past year.

The board took a voice vote, rather than a roll call vote on the issue.

Several board members voted no, but Gouker declared that the motion to approve the increase had passed.

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