County officials discuss potential impact of new health care laws
GOSHEN — Details of how health care reform will impact Elkhart County’s coverage for government employees are still a bit murky, but the picture is becoming clearer every day.
Carol Caviness, director of the county’s human resources department, offered members of the Elkhart County Council a quick snapshot Thursday, March 7, of what the local government can expect to pay if all employees latch on the county’s health care plan under the Affordable Care Act.
Caviness said there are 66 employees on staff who are eligible for coverage through the county but have previously declined it for one reason or another. Those employees will be offered coverage again at the beginning of 2014, she said. If all 66 choose to sign up for the county’s health care plan, the cost to the county would increase by $661,478 annually, Caviness estimated.
“As more and more information becomes available, the county commissioners are going to consider the options and try to continue to offer a good benefit plan for our employees,” Caviness said.
County councilman David Hess said changes in health care coverage requirements will be a big issue in the coming months as the county council prepares to plan its 2014 budget. The county commissioners, he added, will play an important role in making decisions regarding health care for county employees.
“We’re going to have to make sure the commissioners really spend a lot of time and due diligence on this and really think through the long-term policy issues as we begin to chart our course,” Hess said.