Because of an unexpected increase in claims, Douglas County is considering a proposal to ensure its health insurance program remains solvent.
Pam Madl, county personnel and risk management director, outlined to county commissioners Wednesday night a series of steps that would let the county continue to adequately finance its insurance program. The proposal was prompted by claims exceeding this year's projections by almost $100,000.
Commissioners deferred action on her proposals until Monday, saying they want to review the issue further.
In another matter, the commission agreed that County Administrator Chris McKenzie should set a meeting with the city of Lawrence and local attorney Arthur Anderson to discuss buying the Allen Press building and other property owned by Allen Realty in the 1000 blocks of New Hampshire and Massachusetts streets. No date was set for the meeting.
ON THE insurance issue, Mrs. Madl said the increase in claims has lowered the cash reserve in the insurance program's checking account from $163,749.05 on May 31, 1990, to $67,886.65 as of March 29.
Although the claims increase may be the result of an unusual set of circumstances, Mrs. Madl said the current level of use of the program by county employees has to be considered as normal for planning purposes.
Therefore, a committee developed several recommendations. The leading suggestion was to increase premiums for the first time in three years, which would generate about $852,144 in revenues.
Mrs. Madl also listed a series of cost-cutting proposals that would save an estimated $64,000. These proposals included increasing the maximum out-of-pocket expenses, adding a pre-existing condition clause for all new employees and their dependents, eliminating the supplemental accident plan meaning that accident expenses would apply to an employees' deductible and increasing the drug co-pay amounts.
THE COMMISSION is expected to act on these proposals Monday because the current program expires May 31.
Commissioners also will decide whether to include Bert Nash Mental Health Clinic employees in the program. This county agency once belonged to the county's program, but left to join another program. Mrs. Madl told commissioners that including Bert Nash would have a "neutral" impact on the county's program.
On the proposed purchase of the Allen Press building, McKenzie said an architectural study may be needed before a public hearing could be held to discuss its possible uses. The county, which is considering spending $1,141,194, for the building and the former A&P; grocery store, is considering using the site as a juvenile detention center.
"It's a little bit hard to evaluate the desirability of the property until we know how it can be used in an appropriate way," McKenzie said. "Until we can tell the public how we can use it, I don't know if they can fully evaluate whether it's appropriate to do it."
THE CITY is considering purchasing parking lots around the old grocery store and vacant lots on New Hampshire Street for $609,219. Anderson may purchase the Old English Lutheran Church, 1040 N.H., and the house immediately south of it.
In other business, the county:
Heard a report from Bill Bell, director of building and grounds, that the courthouse may have sustained an estimated $100,000 in hail and wind damage to its slate roof and copper guttering from March storms.
Reappointed Peter Hermes to the Building Code Board of Appeals and Mildred Harkness to the Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging.
Approved May 6 minutes, commission orders and accounts payable.