County using US bailout funds to cover health insurance costs

County using US bailout funds to cover health insurance costs

ANDERSON — To help cover escalating medical costs covered by county health insurance, the county is using $675,000 in US bailout funds.

The Madison County Board on Tuesday approved the county commissioners’ request to cover COVID-19-related medical expenses for county employees.

The commissioners requested an additional $2 million in the 2023 budget to cover escalating costs.

The board has budgeted $4 million in the 2022 budget.

The cost increase for the county is expected to be 25% for 2023.

The commissioners requested $6 million for next year and in the proposed budget the amount was reduced to $5.4 million.

The board is due to give final approval to the 2023 budget on Oct. 1. 11.

Earlier this year, the board approved a transfer of $500,000 from the group insurance reserve fund to cover medical expenses.

At the time, Commissioner John Richwine said the county budgeted $4 million for group insurance when the actual cost was going to be closer to $5.5 million.

“We told the board in January that we would need more funding,” Richwine said Wednesday.

Richwine said health insurance claims have increased this year.

“We may need more funding,” he said. “The hope is that these funds will get us through the rest of the year.”

Richwine said it is possible that some funds will be returned to the reserve fund at the end of the year.

In other cases, Sheriff Scott Mellinger cut his requested new funds for the sheriff’s department and jail operations.

Mellinger was originally requesting $364,858 to cover anticipated expenses through the end of the year.

He reduced the amount to $143,000 to cover costs through October.

Mellinger said he hopes to transfer $40,000 from the two budgets next month and another $50,000 in reimbursement for mental health costs to inmates who have the ability to pay for their care.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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