TERRE HAUTE —
Vigo County’s health insurance costs this year are more than 6 percent lower than expenses in 2008 as a result of a new wellness program, higher deductibles and a program that removed spouses who are insured at their own place of employment.
Those were the highlights of a report from an insurance expert Tuesday before the Vigo County Council.
In addition, costs for the county’s self-funded insurance over the next year are projected to drop.
“Our total expected costs currently were about $5.1 million, and our renewal with Anthem for total expected costs is a decrease of 14 percent at $4.527 million, saving about $640,000 in expected costs,” said Jacque Pentell, vice president of employee benefits at Forrest Sherer Insurance Inc.
Pentell said the county currently has a maximum cost cap of $6.1 million, but the county’s new renewal will cap out at about $5.3 million, a decrease of 15 percent or about $803,000.
“We have hit hard on pro-active education with our employees. We implemented a medicine tipster program on medication that they can take and help ease them into $4 drug program that CVS and Walmart and all the others have to offer,” Pentell said.
About 400 of the more than 600 county workers are on the county’s self-funded health insurance.
In a related issue, Dr. Kayur V. Patel, who heads Wellness for Life Medical LLC, which operates a health clinic for Vigo County, told the County Council that another private company will join the Wellness for Life clinic.
“We talked about allowing other companies, private companies, to utilize these premises to help offset the costs,” Patel said. “On July 1, we will have a private company join us. The company has about 425 employees.”
He declined to name the company, as that company today will announce the plan to its workers.
Patel said the clinic is now open 20 hours a week and will add 16 hours with the new company, staying open for 36 hours.
“The goal in the next six months is to engage another one or two private companies or government entities to take part” in the clinic,” Patel said.
n In regular business, the council gave a preliminary approval to a 10-year personal property tax abatement to Applied Extrusion Technologies Inc., which plans to invest an estimated $8 million for new equipment for metalizing and slitting oriented polypropolene packaging materials, including a winder, packout and upgrades for large diameter rolls.
The company plans to add 13 new employees with an annual payroll of $545,000.
• Ten-year real property and 10-year personal property tax abatements were also given preliminary approval for ThyssenKrupp Presta Terre Haute LLC. The tax abatements are part of a previously announced county incentive package for the company to build a 73,600-square-foot addition to its facility in the Vigo County Industrial Park, south of Terre Haute. The company will also add three new assembly lines.
ThyssenKrupp Presta currently has 188 employees with an annual payroll of more than $2.44 million. By the end of 2013, ThyssenKrupp Presta will add 120 new workers with an annual payroll of nearly $4.5 million, in excess of $17 per hour. The council also approved an additional appropriation of $200,000 from the County Economic Development Income Tax as part of its incentive package.
• Both AET and ThyssenKrupp Presta abatements are up for final approval before the council next month.
• The council also approved $42,396 to purchase 40 X2 Tasers for the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department. Half of that amount is to be paid from the county prosecutor’s seized asset fund. The department currently does not have Tasers.
• In addition, the council approved $126,438 from the prosecutor’s seized asset fund for the purchase of six used Dodge Chargers and one used Dodge Durango, complete with new sirens and light packages, for the Terre Haute Police Department. The prosecutor can designate the funds to either a city or county police department, pending approval of the council.
The city’s police department sent bid specifications to four car dealerships, with two bidding. The low bidder was Vigo Dodge.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached
at (812) 231-4204 or howard.greninger