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Village Vision News

Employees must pay portion of healthcare premiums

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Village will continue to pay 100 percent of healthcare premiums for full-time employees, but employees must now bear 25 percent of the premium cost to cover their dependents.

Board trustees agreed in a unanimous vote March 5 to direct Village Administrator Heather Kimmons to craft the Village’s operations and maintenance budget to reflect that each employee currently insured will pay 25 percent of healthcare insurance premiums for their covered dependents. At the same time, trustees agreed to budget a 3 percent salary increase across departments to allow for merit-based pay increases. Both changes go into effect May 1, 2012, at the start of the Village’s new fiscal year.

“I have not come across any Illinois community, larger or smaller than Forsyth, which pays 100 percent of the health insurance premiums for its employees AND their dependents,” Kimmons said in a written memo to trustees. She said it was not uncommon to see employees’ premiums covered at 90-100 percent, with dependent premium coverages ranging from 0-70 percent.

Trustee Bob Rasho said the Village should “…look at the big picture” when it comes to both employee healthcare and pension contributions. He noted that the Village contributes 11.79 percent to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF) compared to an employee pension contribution of 4.5 percent. He said involvement in such a pension plan “…will come and bite us” just as escalating healthcare costs have. “Get us out of this,” he said.

However, Mayor Hap Gilbert said that while Rasho had a good thought, it was not possible to disassociate the Village as an organization from IMRF. “Once you get one person in, you’re locked in,” the mayor said.

Kimmons said in the next few years the Village may need to look into the option of health savings accounts, which have much higher deductibles and no premiums. This plan is used by many communities, she said, including nearby Mt. Zion. However, at least through the 2012-13 fiscal year, Forsyth employees will continue to receive healthcare benefits under an 80/20 plan with a $1,000 deductible.

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