Affordable Care Act raises insurance rates
The city’s monthly cost for employee health insurance will be going up 11 percent as of Dec. 1.
But it could have been worse.
City council voted Thursday to renew Uhrichsville’s Aultcare policy one month early to avoid an even steeper increase – 34.6 percent – had the city waited until the policy expired at the end of the year.
Mayor Terry Culbertson said the premium will increase from $9,952 a month to $11,047 a month.
Union Cemetery trustees took similar action on Oct. 14, renewing their employees’ Aultcare policy to avoid a stiff increase in their monthly premiums. The cemetery will be paying 20 percent more per month. Had they waited until the first of the year, the increase would have been 39 percent.
The increases are related to implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
“This is tied into the changes small groups have to make to comply with the law,” said Mike Novelli, vice president of reform implementation for Aultcare.
Small groups have less than 50 employees.
With Uhrichsville and Union Cemetery renewing their policies early, “it buys them some time,” Novelli said. “They can keep their current plans until Dec. 1, 2014.”
Then the two governments will have to purchase policies that comply with all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
Culbertson anticipates that that will be expensive for Uhrichsville.
“We have no idea what we will do next year,” he said. “It will be tough.”
Next year, Union Cemetery will likely no longer offer health insurance to its three full-time employees.
“The high cost of health insurance and its constant increases are making it unaffordable for the cemetery to offer it to its employees,” Councilman Joel Peterson told council. He also serves as a cemetery trustee.
“The trustees agreed that this renewal buys the employees time to seek other options,” he said. “Next year it seems unlikely that the cemetery could bear the cost of the insurance policy.”
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