Dickinson approves new health insurance proposal

IRON MOUNTAIN — Dickinson County will opt for a one-year agreement with Blue Cross/Blue Shield for employee health insurance in lieu of a two-year plan accepted in September.

County Controller Brian Bousley said the change will save 10.53 percent, reducing the county’s employee and retiree health care costs by an estimated $160,000 in 2019.

A previous plan was expected to reduce premiums by 5.38 percent in 2019 and cap any increase for 2020 at 3.85 percent. Bousley, however, said those numbers didn’t fully materialize.

While the savings next year now will be much greater, the county will potentially be at risk for higher rates in 2020, he acknowledged.

The county board unanimously approved the new agreement Monday.

In recent years, the county has purchased high-deductible health plans combined with Health Savings Accounts or Health Reimbursement Accounts, which have shown favorable rates and have collectively saved in health care costs.

Employees pay 20 percent of the cost of premiums.

In other action, the county board:

— Heard Tracy Asanuma of Iron Mountain encourage a community survey “so that moms can weigh in” on a feasibility study for a planned restructuring of Dickinson County Healthcare System.

— Authorized construction of holding tanks for a septic system for two new hangars being built at Ford Airport. The tanks may be used up to three years, giving the county time to pursue grant funding for a Kingsford sanitary sewer system connection. The site has excessive underground water, preventing installation of pipes without some type of remedy, Bousley explained.

— Heard Bousley report Ford Airport had 2,083 boardings in October on SkyWest Airlines flights, potentially putting the airport on track for 20,000 boardings this year.

— Authorized Bousley to spend up to $9,000 to purchase a pre-owned truck for county animal control. Bids have been received from Neuens Auto Sales, M & D Auto, and Town & Country Sales, but the board will leave the final selection to the controller’s discretion.

— Presented a resolution to Charles Munk, director of human resources for Lake Shore Systems Inc., saluting the Kingsford-based company for 160 years of success. Lake Shore has been designing and manufacturing equipment for the maritime and mining industries since 1858.

— Heard Commissioner-elect Kevin Pirlot praise the work of his District 2 opponent, incumbent Ann Martin, who will serve until Pirlot is seated in January.