Chesterton Tribune



Hospital interest funds sought to pay for county health insurance

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Porter County Auditor Robert Wichlinski said his office has looked under every stone in the County’s specialty funds, trying to find extra money to plug the funding gap in the employee health insurance.

The backlog had peaked at about $1.3 million last month and, as of Tuesday, about $400,000 remains unpaid.

“We’ve exhausted every point of revenue to meet the health care projections,” Wichlinski told the Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

Under a motion called for by the board President John Evans, R-North, he and fellow Commissioners Laura Blaney, D-South, and Nancy Adams, R-Center, voted unanimously in favor of setting aside $5 million of interest money, generated from funds from the sale of Porter Memorial Hospital.

Before the vote, Wichlinski estimated an additional $3.6 million will be needed to get through the year for employee insurance based on current claims. Evans suggested the request for hospital interest be increased to $5 million in case the amount goes beyond Wichlinski’s estimate.

Any money left over would go back to the fund at the end of the year, Evans said. It could also be rolled over to help pay for next year’s health insurance costs, Wichlinski said.

The Commissioners, who are ultimately responsible for employee health insurance and benefits, will go to the County Council at their upcoming meeting, on Tuesday, Aug. 26, asking members to appropriate the money.

Evans said a majority of Council members last fall had approved the final 2014 budgets with the insurance item severely under budget, which is why there is a shortfall.

According to the Council’s Budget and Financial Specialist Vicki Urbanik, the hospital interest fund held $9,459,875 as of this morning. Insurance payouts in general average about $1 million per month, she said.


Posted 8/6/2014