Healthy cuts


I just read your April 17 article on the city of Columbiana’s health insurance costs for the 54-person workforce.

According to the information reported in the Journal, Columbiana paid $1.1 million in total health care costs for the year 2013. That averages out to $20,576.13 in health care expense per employee for 2013. That averages out to $1,714.66 per month per employee on the health insurance program.

That’s a lot of health insurance expense, especially when you consider how many workers are under 35 who work for the city and appear relatively healthy. The sick ones go on sick leave, and get paid.

Why are they so sick in Columbiana? Does the city water have an odor to it? It must, because this all stinks to the taxpayers of Columbiana. A fair portion of the taxpayers don’t earn $1,714.66 in a month as income, more less including paying for their own health insurance for their family.

Councilman Simpson needs to retire. I thought he did that 12 years ago when he “retired” as mayor. He is just trying to create a divide in Columbiana that we don’t want or need.

What us taxpayers want, however, is accountability on how our tax dollars are spent. $21,000 per employee for health care in 2013? How long could you afford it?

I have an idea. The city makes an offer to all employees as follows: Upon hiring by the city, we will pay $700 per employee, per month for health insurance. Go to Obamacare and buy your own plan. You pay the difference if it exceeds $700 per month. Otherwise, sorry, we will have to keep looking for another candidate.

Simply doing that would reduce health care costs paid by the city to $453,000 per year. Fifty-four employees times $700 per month is $8,400 per year per employee, or a grand total of $453,600 in city health care expenses compared to $1.1 million in 2013.

With the savings, maybe we taxpayers could get a break for a change. Plenty of private sector companies do this. I challenge the council to tell me why that won’t work.

Phillip Saunders