• Last modified 537 days ago (April 2, 2020)


Technical glitches plague county meeting

Staff writer

The county commission’s first online- and telephone-only meeting Tuesday was riddled with technical difficulties.

The meeting began 25 minutes late so commissioners’ microphones and computers could be set up. The county information technology director went around the room making adjustments to microphones and computers so audio and video would work.

In-person attendance at commission meetings is prohibited because of concerns about the COVID-19 outbreak. Local governments are allowed to hold meetings by telephone conference call and online as long as observers can participate.

Several times during the meeting feedback between microphones and speakers caused problems with audio clarity.

At times, speakers such as county engineer Brice Goebel tried to get paperwork to show up on the screen, and the image blurred into unreadable copy when the page was scrolled down.

When benefit consultant Sally Tatro of Gallagher Benefit Services reviewed medical insurance options for the commission, commissioners followed along on paper copies because there was no image on the screen.

Tatro reviewed price, coverage, co-pays, prescription drug benefits, deductibles, and maximum out-of-pocket limits for eight medical insurance plans offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and United Healthcare.

If the county renews the BCBS plan it has now, the cost increase would be $197,825, bringing it to $1,117,981 more a year.

A second BCBS plan would cost $154,052 more a year than the plan employees have, but increases the maximum out-of-pocket limit.

A third BCBS plan would cost $34,458 more a year but increase deductibles between $1,000 and $2,000 while also increasing co-pays from 20% to 50%.

Aetna offers a plan with three deductible options. This plan offers lower prescription co-pays. The $1,000-deductible plan would cost $538,828 more a year.

United Health care offers two plans. One would cost $479,393 more a year with a $1,000 deductible option. The other would cost $98,155 more with a $5,000 deductible.

After reviewing the plans, commissioners decided to table a decision until Monday’s meeting.

Last modified April 2, 2020