Plain Township trustees agreed June 14 to renew the contract with Medical Mutual of Ohio for insurance coverage from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012.

Plain Township trustees agreed June 14 to renew the contract with Medical Mutual of Ohio for insurance coverage from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012.

"It was important for us to approve the program because our coverage expires on June 30," said trustee Dave Olmstead. "This (plan) is similar to our current coverage."

The resolution approved at the June 14 meeting anticipates a 17- to 18-percent increase in costs over last year, bringing the township's monthly bill to $48,000.

Olmstead said the increase was a result of increased claims filed last year.

"Because of that, there was an increase of 17 percent for our premiums," he said.

To help offset the increase in the annual cost, the township is instituting a wellness program, Olmstead said. The plan will provide employees with incentives to improve their health and change their lifestyles, which the township is hoping will result in lower premiums in the future.

The township currently pays 100 percent of its employee health care, said trustee David Ferguson.

He said the township would review that issue after the final outcome of Ohio Senate Bill 5, which places limits on collective bargaining for public employees. One aspect of the law will require public employees to pay a certain amount for their health-care coverage. Gov. John Kasich signed the legislation into law this spring, but opponents have mounted a campaign to place S.B. 5 on the November ballot as a referendum for state voters to decide.

"We will continue to look for ways to mitigate costs in the future," Olmstead said.

Trustees heard a detailed presentation on the health-care coverage at a previous meeting on June 1.