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home : cass county news : cass county news
November 20, 2019

10/20/2019 9:48:00 AM
Cass County Board: County health insurance rates remain steady next year
Cass County Correspondent

BACKUS -- Employee health insurance costs for Cass County or its employees will not increase in 2020.

The county board voted Tuesday, Oct. 15, to keep all premium rates the same as 2019, but to increase the deductible from $3,375 to $3,500 for the lowest cost single person plan and to increase the deductible from $6,750 to $7,000 for the lowest cost two-person or family plan.

The deductible increase ensures there will be carryover in the fourth quarter, Chief Financial Officer Sandra Norikane said.

The county contributes $1,045 monthly toward health insurance premiums for each employee. The employee can choose coverage with a $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $3,500 or $7,000 deductible. They also have a choice of a single person, two-person or family plan.

Employees not on a single person plan will pay an additional $376.90 to $678.90 per month for their health insurance beyond the county contribution, depending upon which deductible they choose and how many family members they want covered.

Cass County is self-insured, so maintains an insurance fund from which claims are paid. In 1991, the county had two months of possible future claims or $179,708 in the fund after $1,076,002 was paid in claims.

By 2018, the fund balance had increased to $5,606,962 after paying $4,689,676 in claims paid. That represents 14.35 months on hand for future claims.

Employees also have an option to purchase additional insurance for a health savings account, life, long or short term disability, dental, vision or critical illness, hospital and accident.

In other business Tuesday, the county board:

Set a public hearing at the 6 p.m. Dec. 5 Truth in Taxation meeting at the courthouse in Walker to consider approving changes to the county fee schedule.

Approved a letter of support Land Commissioner Kirk Titus sent in support of Leech Lake Reservation's proposal to the Conservation Partner's Legacy Grant for a project to plant diverse tree seedlings in the understory of ash tree stands in advance of the emerald ash borer.

Cass, Itasca and Hubbard counties would cooperate with the DNR, U.S. Forest Service and Leech Lake Band on this project on public land within the reservation boundaries, Titus said.

Learned the land department sold 2,990 cords of wood to loggers for $105,151 at a Sept. 26 auction. Four of six tracts of trees offered were sold. Loggers paid $38.63 per cord for aspen and $40.05 for red oak.

Awarded a contract to North Fork Boulders and Excavating to remove snow at the land department buildings in Backus this winter for $200 per hour. North Fork was the lower of two bidders.

Learned Health, Human and Veterans Services spent 67.8% of its 2019 budget during 75% of the year. Helping keep that budget below expectations was partly due to the fact out of home child placement costs ran about 70% of budget during the first three-fourths of the year.

Approved the 2020-2021 biennial service agreement between Cass HHVS and Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Approved accepting $20,000 in lieu of a one-third claimed interest in real estate property to settle the estate of a person who had accepted medical assistance.

Approved a contract with Lake Country Associates to provide infant mental health consultation as a part of the maternal infant early childhood visiting program through Feb. 28, 2022, at a rate of $120 per hour.

Approved an agreement with Minnesota Department of Human Services whereby the state will provide the county with fingerprinting and photo processing systems to enable the county to conduct background checks on child care providers' staff.

Approved an agreement with Trimin Systems to provide computer programming, technical assistance and related support for HHVS agency collection system for $1,200 and for the social welfare system for $1,200 per year beginning in 2020.

Accepted a $250 donation from the Minnesota Sheriffs' Association for honor guard expenses, a $50 donation from Outing Volunteer Library for Sentence to Service and a $1,000 donation from Mary Imre to purchase automated external defibrillators.

Learned the county earned $1,078,147 interest on investments through September of this year, compared with $911,169 through September in 2018.

Second publication rights after Brainerd Dispatch.

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