CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County will keep the same health insurance with an increase in premiums and a higher deductible.
County commissioners approved renewing the Anthem health insurance plan for elected officials and county employees during their regular meeting Thursday.
County Clerk Junior DeLay said insurance providers were asked to have their offers in by the end of November. As of the deadline, the county had only received renewal quotes along with "some options to tweak our coverage," DeLay said.
Keeping the same coverage as this year but with a raise in the deductible from $2,650 to $3,000, the annual premium increased 7.33 percent to $423,440 for 2008. The county's premium for 2007 was $394,528.
Other options were the same coverage and deductible as this year but with a 12.8 percent increase in premium to $441,082; or changing to Anthem's "Luminos" program, which offers incentives to those insured to improve their health, with a 9-percent increase in premium to $428,452 and a $3,000 deductible.
Only eight people in the county's group have met the deductible in 2007 so far, DeLay said, which is about the 10 percent that is seen statistically.
In 2007, employees and elected officials paid the first $1,500 of their deductible after which the county paid the remaining $1,150.
In 2008, employees and elected officials will pay the first $1,500 toward the deductible after which the county will pick up the remaining $1,500.
In other business Thursday:
* Dennis Cox of Smith and Company Engineers in Poplar Bluff said his firm is submitting plans to the Missouri Department of Transportation for the bridge replacement project planned on County Road 522 at Ditch 14 southeast of "Sawdust Corner" near East Prairie.
Cox advised county officials they should hear back from MoDOT officials in about a month and be ready to bid the project out early next year.
The project will use Off-Systems Bridge Replacement Program funds allocated to the county.
* Only two workers compensation claims were filed in the county this year -- but they were big ones.
The two claims combined totaled $152,283 making the county's loss ratio 228 percent of its $66,864 premium.
* Most of the poor quality red clay gravel has been removed from a quarter-
mile stretch of Brandon Lane, a gravel road in the St. James Estates subdivision near East Prairie.
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said county road and bridge crews will be asked to grade the road again and remove the remainder.
There are five days of rain in the forecast "so it's going to be a mess," he said. "Let's get it up before it rains again."
In related business, commissioners noted the cost for red clay gravel has gone up to $5.10 per ton from the $1.50 the county used to pay a few years ago. "And it's not worth having," Blumenberg said.
Meanwhile, one-inch-minus chat -- gravel with rocks no larger than one inch in diameter -- is only 50 cents more per ton.
* Having examined the culvert on County Road 308 that a resident asked to have replaced, Commissioner Martin Lucas advised that while the bottom is perforated with rust, "it's not that bad."
Lucas said officials would like to be able to replace all culverts that are deteriorating, but the county's finances do not permit it.
He said the road -- which is a dead end that only has farm traffic on it -- is not caving in.
"The whole arch of the pipe is good," Lucas said. "It's not a priority issue at the current time."
Lucas said he also did not see any erosion problems near the culvert.
He suggested they might consider putting a liner in the culvert. "That would be the only possibility I would see," Lucas said.
The culvert is not a 60-inch diameter culvert as they thought before going to look at it, but only a 36-inch culvert, according to Lucas.