CHARLESTON -- Mississippi County office holders and employees will have the same health insurance next year and at the same price,
Commissioners approved renewing the county's health insurance plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield during their regular meeting Thursday.
With no increase in premium, the county will once again pay an annual premium of $371,000 based on current enrollment, according to County Clerk Junior DeLay.
DeLay said Blue Cross originally offered a renewal with a 3-percent increase but had offered to knock 1-percent off if the county signed off on the renewal before Nov. 3.
As the county had a good loss ratio for the last two years, the county's insurance agent advised the county could possibly get insurance through another company for as much as 24 percent lower than the renewal offer.
Commissioners are happy with the current insurance plan, however, and asked DeLay to negotiate with Blue Cross Blue Shield on the renewal.
"They took our offer," said Commissioner Martin Lucas
Presiding Commissioner Jim Blumenberg said while they may have been able to get a lower premium by going with another company, they would have had to go through the application process and could possibly have ended up with a gap in insurance coverage.
The county's health insurance plan has a $3,000 deductible. The county reimburses employees for their deductible after the first $1,500.
DeLay said the county has only had 10 percent or fewer of those enrolled on the county's plan who end up meeting their deductible, which is typical according to nationwide statistics.
In other business Thursday:
* The low bid of $39,500 for a paving machine from Erb Equipment of Cape Girardeau was accepted by commissioners.
Also bidding was Koeppel in St. Louis which offered the same machine for $42,037.
The paving machine, which is towed behind a truck, heats cold mix asphalt, according to commissioners It is able to lay asphalt between 3 and 14-feet wide and up to three inches thick, they said.
Blumenberg said the county needs the machine or they would never be able to keep up with maintenance on the county's blacktop roads.
"It's a lot quicker than a grader and does a better job," he said.
"It will be a good acquisition," Commissioner Homer Oliver agreed.
Commissioners asked DeLay to arrange financing over a four-year period for the purchase.
* Commissioners appointed Elsie Bone of Charleston to fill an unexpired term on the county's Senate Bill 40 Board. The term runs until 2010.
The vacancy was created by the recent resignation of Christy Story, according to commissioners.
"She's not able to attend all the meetings," Blumenberg said.
The SB-40 Board is responsible for disbursing tax funding collected to provide services to county residents with developmental disabilities.