Provisions in the federal government's Affordable Care Act -- popularly known as Obamacare -- mean higher insurance costs associated with a new policy that Reynoldsburg City Council approved unanimously Monday, Oct. 28.
The ordinance to renew the city's health coverage with Aetna Insurance from Jan. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2014, was passed as emergency legislation after one reading.
City Auditor Richard Harris said the city used a competitive bid process to find the best health insurance rates. He said Aetna provides Reynoldsburg's current medical insurance coverage and offered the best rates.
"We went with Aetna again because even though last year's increase was only 5 percent, we could get a 0-percent increase in rates for next year," he said. "It would have actually been lower than last year's rates if not for the Affordable Care Act, which has taxes built into it."
Vision coverage was renewed with VSP Insurance for the same period. Harris said those rates went up 2 percent, which was due to the government's Affordable Care Act.
Dental coverage was renewed with Delta Dental for the same time period, at a 3.8-percent increase, to pay for the Affordable Care Act, he said.
Harris said under the new contracts, medical insurance coverage will cost the city $137,264.82 monthly and $1,647,177.84 annually, to cover the 112 employees currently enrolled.
Dental coverage will cost the city $11,026.08 monthly and $132,312.96 annually for 114 employees.
Vision coverage will cost the city $2,131.80 monthly and $25,581.60 annually for 113 employees.
According to the city auditor's office, monthly rates for employees vary according to contract terms, but under the new Aetna medical plan, single medical coverage would be about $61.76 monthly for most employees and $166.76 monthly for family coverage.
Dispatchers employed by the city will pay higher rates -- $77.20 monthly for single medical coverage and $208.44 for family medical coverage.
Council members also heard the second reading Monday of an ordinance that would merge two assistant council clerk positions into one full-time job.
April Beggerow was hired Oct. 7 to be the new council clerk. She replaced Teresa Veit, who left the position after only five days. Veit replaced Nancy Frazier, who served as clerk of council for 26 years.
Frazier worked with one part-time assistant in her last year on the job, but the council staff originally included one full-time clerk of council and two part-time assistants.
Council President Doug Joseph said hiring only a part-time assistant would not give the city a chance to prevent another vacancy in the clerk of council position. He said any new clerk would not have the efficiency and speed of a 26-year veteran, so he favors changing the position to one full-time assistant.
When the change was discussed at an earlier finance committee meeting, Councilman Scott Barrett said discussion was premature until the job was updated to make it more electronically efficient so that it did not "generate mounds of paper."
Council will meet next in committee meetings at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, at the Reynoldsburg Municipal Building, 7232 E. Main St.