By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
---- — TIPTON — Health insurance costs for Tipton County employees could be double what the county council budgeted for the year.
Council members were informed Tuesday by Auditor Greg Townsend that the $150,000 budgeted for group medical insurance was spent by the end of June.
Townsend said the account was $15,784 in the red as of Tuesday and a $16,919 transfer from the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax fund was only enough to cover one month.
Councilwoman Beth Roach said the council would have to appropriate additional funds in August to pay for the remainder of the year.
Townsend said at least $200,000 more would be needed in the group medical account for the remainder of 2013.
The increase is a result of more employees enrolling in the plan and a rate increase, Townsend said.
“Group medical has been hit significantly by employees signing up,” he said. “The county’s expenses are increasing.”
Commissioner Joe VanBibber said the council had to have accurate numbers on the estimated cost for the remainder of the year for medical coverage.
“I will get the numbers and percentage of the increases,” VanBibber said of the additional employees enrolled in the program.
“I’m concerned about the 2014 costs,” he said.
Council members also approved a transfer in the health department budget of $1,878 to cover group medical costs.
Townsend said the health department will request an additional $9,000 at the August meeting to cover costs for the remainder of the year.
A letter from the health department to the council indicated the department requested $33,000 be budgeted for group medical in 2013 and only $10,000 was approved.
Council members want an explanation of why the cost is increasing significantly and whether more employees in the health department than anticipated signed up for medical insurance.