(Lander, Wyo.) – The Fremont County Commission agreed earlier this month to take a day-long retreat to help plan the future of the county’s health insurance system.
During the meeting, which involved a number of members of the county’s health insurance committee and Cobecon representative Diana Madvig, several possible tweaks to the system were presented but no ideas were decided upon besides planning for a separate day.
Fremont County Clerk Julie Freese said it would help the committee if the commission could decide if they wanted to maintain a certain level of benefit and adjust costs as needed or set a cap to costs and adjust benefits accordingly.
Commission Chairman Doug Thompson and Vice Chairman Travis Becker were afraid the county could get caught in a corner if it chose to maintain a level of benefits. He said the health insurance should be treated like any other budget and adjusted annually. “I think it starts with setting that dollar limit,” Becker said.
Freese said a “happy medium for everyone” needed to be found.
Thompson said it felt like other statutorily required services could suffer from the need to provide health insurance. “It’s almost like the tail is wagging the dog right now,” he said.
Commissioner Keja Whiteman reminded him that health insurance essentially is a statutory requirement, and that no single option would satisfy everyone.
While federal fines for not providing health insurance might be less costly than providing benefits for the first couple years, it is not sustainable in the long run, Madvig said.
It was noted by several people that rising claims costs are driving higher health care costs. If the commission could find a way to lower the amount of claims, it could make the health insurance program more sustainable.
A date will be set in the coming months for the commission to meet for an entire day on the topic, with other county elected officials joining them for the second half of the day.