If improvements can be made to an ordinance regulating health insurance for two county departments, they will be made, Boone County Attorney Bob Clutter told the county council last week.
“If there’s a better system, then I’ll be back with a better ordinance,” Clutter said.
An “employee health fund” for most Boone County employees was adopted by the council at its December meeting. The fund excludes employees of the county highway and health department, however.
Highway department money comes from the state’s distribution of gas tax money through the Motor Vehicle Highway fund; the health department has its own tax levy.
Tuesday, Jan. 11, the council approved a highway and health department employee health fund that specifies the money is “non-reverting;” that is, at the end of the year, any unspent money will roll over into the account.
“I like this ... because we can prepare for future eventualities,” Councilman David Rodgers said.
Councilwoman Marcia Wilhoite voted no, because she felt the change “leaves the health department and highway department with less money to work with,” she said.
“I don’t disagree with that,” Clutter said. “But since their employees are already restricted (because of the revenue sources) ... it’s not like it would be going into the general fund.”
The changes will eliminate what Deputy Auditor Cindy Poore categorized as, “an accounting nightmare.”
“We’re all for setting up this non-reverting fund to build up our account,” said Cindy Murphy, RN, of the health department’s nursing and vital records division.
Council President Steve Jacob asked Clutter, “If we don’t like this three months down the road, can we undo it?”
“Absolutely,” Clutter said.
Jacob did not vote on the ordinance.
The ordinance developed from a Dec. 5 Board of Commissioners meeting, when Clutter asked Poore to report on the carry-over of health insurance funds for county employees.
Poore said a suggestion had been made to create a new fund, rather than a line item in the commissioners’ budget, to track the costs.
“It would make the accounting a lot easier,” Poore said. “We would be able to build up the moneys for the health fund, in case we had a really bad year.”
Refunds have come in the last two years, Commissioner Marc Applegate said. “But we could have a bad year.”
The fund would also give the county a possible option to supplement increases in health insurance premiums, said Commissioner Jeff Wolfe.
Applegate’s motion to establish the funds passed 3-0; state law required the county council’s approval as well.
At the county council meeting, Poore said she, Clutter, Rodgers and Wolfe planned to meet to consider modifications to the ordinance.