Robinson announces she will not seek re-election
This year will be Donna Robinson’s last as a Montgomery County Supervisor.
At the regular meeting Jan. 23, Robinson made the announcement that she would not be seeking another term.
“I was asked about the District Five Supervisor position, which I hold. It’s up for election this year, and I will not be running for re-election this year. I wanted to put it out there so the general public knows about it. If someone is out there in the fifth district and interested in this position, I would love to have them step forward,” said Robinson. “Four terms is it, and I am done at the end of the year.”
Robinson added the filing date to run is on Friday, March 22.
“That gives people two months to get their papers out and look at this position,” advised Robinson. “If there are any questions, contact the auditor’s office and the election personnel at 623-5127.”
The supervisors also heard an update on the county’s health insurance coverage. Tom Schuetz with Alera Group and Steven Preader with Sagacity Benefits were both on hand to report on the status of the insurance.
“We haven’t received the formal renewal notice from the Iowa Governmental Health Care Program, but we know that the increase in the Wellmark premium is 4% in total, which is a really good increase, and below a predicted increase of 5% in total,” Schuetz said. “For your budgeting perspective, in numbers, that calculates to roughly a $40,000 total increase in your premium.”
Schuetz also shared an update on the funds on the self-funded side of the insurance.
“Our self fund through six months is performing very well. Our actual expenses are at about 60% of what was budgeted. I would expect that unless we have a huge increase in claims across the board, we should finish the fiscal year in about that same range, which will create some additional cushion for the reserve fund. It also means for the most part that the group of insurers has stayed pretty healthy, which is always a good thing,” advised Schuetz.
Schuetz also said if the self fund was left the same, the county’s net insurance increase was about 3.4%, which was very good news.
Preader advised the supervisors in July 2022, the county’s reserve was around $186,000, and due to high claims in 2023, it fell to $128,000 before rebounding to around $147,000. Any claims not paid go into the fund’s surplus, and the $147,000 amount was through December 2023.
“It’s starting to climb back up there because claims have softened, and we’re able to put some money into the reserve that we were paying to partial self-fund claims. The partial self-fund claims utilization is performing very well right now, and I expect to be able to put in another $40,000 or $60,000 which will be a healthy bump going into the coming year. To put it in context, In 2021-22, there was around $107,000 in partial self-fund claims. In 2022-23, it almost doubled to $208,000 in claims. Right now, we’re tracking to about $80,000 to $100,000 again, so really, everything has kind of corrected itself. I think everything looks pretty good from a financial perspective,” Preader explained. “I kind of estimate we’ll be in the $180,000 range again hopefully by the end of this fiscal year. That’s where we were at a couple of years ago. You’ve got a healthy reserve to rely on in bad years.”
Preader added the fund was on track to fall into the $50,000 range, but a combination of changes and good fortune with members and their claims has allowed things to mesh together very well.
Schuetz said health claims are never a steady line, and there are always peaks and valleys to be expected.
“You have good years and bad years. My thoughts are rather than holding your breath and getting your renewal and not knowing where it’s going to come in, build a reserve so that gives you some flexibility on those years where you have high claims and can use some of your reserve to offset that. It allows you to budget and manage things better and is really a long-term, forward-thinking strategy. We’re having a good year, so we can put more money in the fund. I think the county has done a great job of doing that,” said Schuetz.
The supervisors then discussed the renewal rate for the insurance with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the IGHCP. Robinson also said the department heads needed to be appraised of the insurance rate, as all the budgets will change.
Supervisor Mark Peterson also discussed the option of adding more money to the self-funded insurance to make sure the balance was well funded moving forward.
The supervisors agreed to further discuss the funding options at one of the upcoming budget workshops. Approval of the insurance rate was tabled for a future supervisors meeting.
The supervisors also approved the corrected treasurer’s semi-annual report ending fund balance for the month of December, in the amount of $11,429,666.