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Commissioners OK insurance renewal

October 10, 2012
By Fritz Busch - Staff Writer , The Journal

NEW ULM - By a 3-1 vote Tuesday, Brown County commissioners approved 2013 HealthPartners Health Insurance plans with payment of County and employment shares according to personnel policy and union contracts.

The renewal reflected a 16.69 percent increase from the HP 2500/5000 with HSA base plan from 2012 rates due to trend factors and plan experience, according to the Request for Board Action (RBA).

Commissioner Scott Windschitl cast the dissenting vote. Commissioners Jim Berg, Richard Seeboth and Andy Lochner approved the resolution. Commissioner Dennis Potter was absent.

"This is a high rate for the coverage. I'm not sure we couldn't do better," Windschitl said.

Commissioner Andy Lochner said he had a hunch the County wouldn't save money by looking at other insurance companies.

Commissioners unanimously approved:

Offering an optional fourth Health Partners Insurance Plan: HP 3000/6000 w/HSA; Single, $576.39; Family, $1,556.11. This plan gives employees another insurance option with a lower premium rate.

Accepted a request from the Minnesota River Board to participate in an RFP (Request For Proposals) for additional ditch viewers, although the County doesn't not currently belong to the river board.

Brown County is re-determining benefits on three of the county's drainage ditches this year,

Plans are to re-determine benefits for many of the county's drainage systems. Several other southern Minnesota counties have similar project. This sistuation has led to a lack of lead viewers for the work and delays the number of systems that can be reviewed.

The Minnesota River Board (MRB) is aware of the issue. It would like to develop a RFP to secure additional ditch viewers to meet the increasing demand of benefit re-determination in the Minnesota River Basin.

Brown County Highway Engineer Wayne Stevens said his office currently has more than 50 ditch repair requests. Brown County has a lot of old systems that are crumbling.

"We're having a hard time getting contractors to repair ditches when they aren't busy doing something else," Stevens said.

Stevens said many county roads remain rough because they can't be bladed much until a "decent" rain falls.

Approved the four-year appointment of Rita Treml as Brown County Assessor effective Jan. 1, 2013.

Accepted and filed information from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control that the Minneapolis Heart Institute working with the Heart of New Ulm project received a $204,275 Small Transformation Grant for Brown County Public Health to create a Heart of Brown County program over a two-year period.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at



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