Pike County supervisors moved Wednesday to push a stake through health insurance woes by renewing coverage for county employees with a 27% rate hike.

The board voted 4-0 with supervisor Gary Honea absent to renew an agreement with Aetna.

The deductible will stay at $1,000 and prices on prescriptions will not change. Employee premiums will raise from $795 to $1,009 and the dependent cost will increase from $486 to $618. The rate on dental care will increase 9% and life insurance will not see an increase.

 County Administrator Tami Dangerfield said employees have until Dec. 9 to alert her office of their choice to opt-in.

The board sought informal approval of the agreement by incoming county supervisors Sam Hall, Robert Accardo and Jake Gazzo along with Sheriff-elect James Brumfield.

“It’s going to be a hit to both parties,” District 3 Supervisor Chuck Lambert said.

Lambert said payroll deductions would begin on December checks.

Last week, supervisors learned Aetna would ask the board to raise rates for county employees significantly over what insurance agent Scott Oakes said were “tremendous” claims over the past year. He told supervisors that just 13 of 175 county employees had claims totaling $1.2 million.

Oakes told supervisors Aetna would seek an increase of 49% on employee insurance rates unless the terms of the agreement were renegotiated.  

In other news, the board approved use of the county multi-purpose complex on Quinlivan Road by Brumfield and his incoming staff.

Administrators with the incoming department will undergoing their swearing-in Dec. 30.

 Lambert asked Brumfield why the department requested use of the facility in December, before taking office Jan. 6, when his four-year term begins

Brumfield said he will use the time and space to shore up administrative duties, including health insurance paperwork.

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