Sunbury Village Council plans to increase village employees' health insurance costs.

Sunbury Village Council plans to increase village employees' health insurance costs.

Council on Jan. 19 agreed to pay Medical Mutual insurance $24,409 per month for village employee benefits.

The new benefits package would increase the employees' deductible from $3,000 to $5,000.

Which means an individual employee's out of pocket expense could potentially jump from $700 to $1,000.

"A little deeper in the pocket, but not so huge," council member Jennifer Witt said.

"It's more of a burden on the employee.

We are saving more on the overall premium. It's a good middle spot," councilman Tom Hatfield said.

Council had Frank Harmon, a broker with Ohio Insurance Services Agency Inc., petition Medical Mutual for a lower monthly premium for the village in December.

Harmon was able to get a lower monthly premium, but told council on Jan. 19 it may cost village employees more money.

Witt said she was leaning toward a greater out-of-pocket expense for employees compared to increased village premiums.

"We've had a wonderful program for our people here," Witt said.

"Unfortunately, the way medical expenses are going now, more and more even public companies and private companies are leaning more toward having their employees be contributors."

Harmon said his only concern with the new benefits package would be for employees who have their entire family on the plan.

"If they go from a potential $900 out of pocket today to a $3,000. that's a bigger difference," Harmon said.

Hatfield said he also was hesitant about increasing potential out-of-pocket expenses for employees with family members on the plan, but said it would be $1,000 maximum per person and only up to three people.

"In a family situation, you'd have to have three people maxing out on that, and I think in most cases it'd be somewhat unlikely," Hatfield said.

Village employee Dave Martin said he felt the new plan was fair.

"We have really good insurance so I'm happy with it," Martin said. "I'd love for it all to be free. I'm an employee, but the village has to be responsible and operate within their budget, too."

Martin said employees would still have to pay co-pays and partial prescription costs.

"It's reasonable for the village to spread that exposure out a little bit if they can," Martin said. "I don't think they did it in such a way that's terribly burdensome on the employees."

Witt said it's also important to not burden Sunbury residents with extra expenses.

"We as a council need to not only be responsible and accountable to the people that work for our village, but also to the village individuals who elected us into the office," Witt said.

Also at the meeting, council was told Sunbury United Metho-dist Church will host an all-you-can-eat charity breakfast to benefit the family of PJ Bennett, called "Pancakes for PJ," from 7-11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 23.

PJ is the 13-year-old-son of Sunbury police chief Patrick Bennett.

Martin said the younger Bennett was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma on Christmas day.

The $5 donation will help pay for travel and medical expenses for treatment locally and in Washington, D.C.

"He's going to chemotherapy now." Martin said. "They did apheresis on him to create a vaccine from his own platelets.

Donations also can be made at PNC Bank in Sunbury.

Council also approved two purchase orders totaling $26,757; $12,364 will go to the Delaware County engineer's office for 200 tons of salt and $14,393 will go to the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation to cover 2010.