COLUMBIANA - The city's self-funded insurance costs keep rising, and it may be the last straw before the plan is dropped.
Only a month after the city appropriated $150,000 to the insurance fund to pay for the cost of insurance claims, Finance Director Mark Harold requested an additional $60,000 be appropriated to pay for more claims.
Harold said the money is needed for claims that came in only two days after the $150,000 was appropriated last month. One of the claims was $20,000 alone.
With little more than one week left of this year, more costs are bound to be incurred, he added.
As of this week the city has spent more than $1,000,073 on claims and premiums combined, and Harold expects that to reach $1.1 million by Dec. 31.
The city originally budgeted $902,900 for insurance claims this year and was already over that amount by more than $85,000 last month.
Under the self-funded plan administered by MCA Administrators, the city pays 100 percent of the maximum possible cost for its full-time employees. Two years ago the city was spending about $983,000 a year on the insurance, with a portion of that going toward catastrophic claims.
Harold said the premiums increased in May by 10 percent for the 56 full-time employees eligible for insurance. The city has absorbed some of that cost.
He also said the premium price is set by MCA Administrators and what employees contribute is determined by their contracts.
The policy will expire in May 2013 and Harold previously suggested joining the Ohio Insurance Services Agency consortium to save money.
"We need to address this again shortly," Councilman Bob Bieshelt said. The Republican has advocated moving away from self-funded insurance in prior months, and Councilman Bryan Blakeman again suggested the city begin "shopping insurance" to see what other offers are available.
City Manager Keith Chamberlin agreed the current plan "needs looked at."
Council then approved the additional $60,000 be appropriated to the insurance fund to cover the costs.