City opts for new health insurance under regional municipality consortium

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By Correne Martin

Prairie du Chien city employees will transition to a new health insurance program beginning Jan. 1, 2016, as the common council approved a new two-year contract Tuesday night with the Western Wisconsin Municipal Consortium (WWMC). Until coverage under the consortium begins, the city has renewed with Network Health for November and December at a 1.4 percent reduction in the current premium.

WWMC is an association of about 40 municipalities in the region that have come together to achieve improved health insurance options for their employees. Jerry Den Boer, owner and president of Benefit Advisors Insurance Agency, of the Coulee Region, has worked with many municipalities for the past two years to create the consortium.

According to an analysis and comparison provided by City Administrator Aaron Kramer, on behalf of the city’s personnel committee, the consortium rates would be lower than the current premiums, and would provide more options for employees to choose from, while, at the same time, providing an estimated $40,000 to $80,000 in savings to the city.

In the new WWMC contract, employees will be offered two options: Plan A—$1,000 single/$2,000 family deductible with the city providing $500 (single) and $1,000 (family) to a Health Reimbursement Account (HRA), employees paying 15 percent of the premium; and Plan B—$2,000 single/$4,000 family deductible with the city providing $1,000 (single) and $2,000 (family) to the HRA, employees paying 14 percent of the deductible, and participating employees receiving discounted annual family passes to Hoffman Hall and the outdoor pool.

The council unanimously approved the switch to the consortium Tuesday night and also thanked Joel Ingebritsen, of Health Traditions, for working with the city via Network Health in recent years.

Other business
•Kramer informed the council that the Oct. 20 council meeting will begin at city hall and then adjourn and reconvene at the Crossing Rivers Health Polodna Room to discuss the issues with the hospital’s access road from Highway 18.

“They are still running into issues with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration on the access road to the hospital off Highway 18,” Kramer said. “Crossing Rivers is simply not making any headway. Only the city of Prairie du Chien can ask for a waiver of FAA standards.

•The council approved a  potential agreement with the town of Bridgeport and Crawford County that the city would agree to pay for improvements to the remaining 632 feet of road footage along Vineyard Coulee Road inside the city limits, if they elect to participate in further upgrades. The 632 feet falls within the northwestern-most point of the land recently annexed into the city by Crossing Rivers Health.

According to public works committee chair Kyle Kozelka, in March of 2014, the council voted “to approve the improvement of Vineyard Coulee Road.”

“If Bridgeport does upgrade that area, this is just a gesture of cooperation for future improvements to Vineyard,” Kozelka stated.

•The council approved removal of the following no parking and yellow curb around the former Prairie du Chien Memorial Hospital property once the buildings have been razed:

1) Dunn Street from Dousman Street to State Street on the north side of street; 2) Taylor Street on the south side between State Street and Dousman Street; 3) Handicap stall on the north side of Taylor Street between State and Dousman Streets; 4) East side of Dousman Street between Taylor Street and Dunn Street; and 5) Dunn Street west of Dousman Street on the south side between Ohio Street and Dousman Street.

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