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Homewood-Flossmoor Park District board members, calling medical insurance a special benefit for employees, decided not to make major policy changes despite an 11 percent increase in premiums.

At the board meeting Aug. 18, board members considered what to do about the $75,000 increase while still offering insurance that would help keep employees and their families healthy. The district has 53 employees covered by its policy. 

“We have to think about our employees,” Park District Executive Director Debbie Kopas said. “We don’t want to have a negative impact on them that would prevent them from coming to work healthy.” 

The board renewed its Blue Cross/Blue Shield HMO and HRA/PPO employee medical insurance policies through September 2016, but imposed increases in PPO deductibles from $250 to $500 for a single and from $500 to $1,000 for dependent coverage. 


Board President Robert Haderlein said he “hates that the deductible is creeping up.” 

The district expects part of that $75,000 premium jump will be offset in part by the higher deductibles.

The board also agreed to offer a monthly payment to employees who waive medical insurance coverage. Several park boards offering this option have seen savings. It may result in savings for the H-F Park District, said Renae Ross, superintendent of finance and administration.

Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals are responsible for medical insurance coverage.  Business and government agencies that have provided insurance are continuing to underwrite it as part of the compensation package.

Board members noted that a good benefit package is part of the reason the district has recruited and maintained an excellent staff. Member Steve Johnson said he didn’t want to “slash benefits so that we can’t recruit the best people.” Member Deb Dennison agreed, but said the board needs to consider the budget, too.

Ross said she had budgeted for an increase, so the additional cost won’t force the board to make cuts elsewhere in the budget.

The board also renewed its Vision Service Plan insurance coverage. Costs rose 8.6 percent over the previous plan, and employees will now pay $17.09 per month up from $15.80 per month. This plan extends to September 2017.

The dental insurance plan will come up for renewal in September 2016.

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