Health insurance costs vex Kohler Village Board

by Amber DeFere
Review Correspondent

KOHLER – Health insurance is throwing the Kohler Village Board through the loop.

The issue was discussed by the board at two meetings this month, Feb. 12 and 19.

Essentially, because the village has more than 50 employees, including both full and part-time, they do not qualify for the cheaper insurance plan - the community program - that they had been looking into and were promised by Anthem Insurance. Although less than 20 of their workers would be receiving the insurance, the amount of total workers still greatly affects the options available to the village, insurance officials told them.

Currently, the village is getting health insurance through United Healthcare, which they have been renewing on a monthly basis until they can come to a consensus on what to do about the predicament as it is not their first choice in insurance, especially with the increased pricing.

Trustees debated whether a cut in seasonal part-time employees, merging with surrounding villages, or switching insurance companies would help, but overall it was found that any solution wouldn’t fix current problems.

Initially, the discussion became less about what the board will do about their current health insurance and more about how they will work around these obstacles in the future and what options they will have for the upcoming year. However, most of the options wouldn’t work and many members of the board thought that more experienced, outside sources should be brought in to deal with the situation.

The entire additional meeting that was held prior to the regularly scheduled one was spent solely going over the insurance plan. Unfortunately, the meeting was adjourned with no definitive solutions or decisions being made.

The topic was brought up again in the next meeting and after more circling discussions about different options that proved to be ineffectual, the board decided to create a new committee that will be tasked with finding different options and researching the insurance problem further.

The board discussed many other things during the two meetings, such as approving operators license, adjustments to the 2017 budget, building permits and Class A beer licenses for the Kohler Co. There was even a public comment during the meeting Feb. 19 bringing attention to the lack of accessibility for senior citizens to the library. A village resident asked for something to be done about the situation and others like it around the village.

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