Breaking News

First U.S. Ebola case confirmed September 30, 2014

0

Health care law causes question for county

LAWRENCEVILLE -- On the final day of a week-long budget review, Gwinnett leaders learned of another law change that could have a big impact on the government, this time the new federal health care law.

Kenneth Poe, the county's human resources director, said Tuesday officials have been creative over the past few years to keep health care costs down, but the organization is left with few options other than increasing costs to employees or increasing premiums.

With penalties attached to the controversial health care law, Poe said the government is working to keep its benefits package competitive, so people aren't tempted to leave for health care exchanges. But he did note that some people in the private sector have said the penalties may be so law that it makes dropping health care a viable alternative.

For now, though, he has asked for a 2013 project to evaluate the creation of a wellness center for county employees.

The new law requires 100 percent coverage of preventative care, Poe noted. Plus an improvement to health could mean a savings of up to $900,000 a year in a reduction of claims, an initial study says.

Costs for the center, which could be housed in a county facility with a contractor providing medical staff, have not been determined. Poe said he expects the center could open in 2014, if leaders vote to move forward with the planning.

Also Tuesday, Finance Director Maria Woods asked for some funding because of a new state law changing motor vehicle taxes.

The change, which caused Tax Commissioner Richard Steele to ask for a boost in temporary staffing Monday, will require a higher one-time tax instead of the annual "birthday tax" currently collected.

Woods said officials expect the number of appeals of motor vehicle valuations to jump from about 100 a year to about 3,500 a year based on the law change. She asked for $175,000 to hire a contractor to help settle the disputes.

In an attempt to boost tax revenues, the department is also seeking at total of $350,000 for contractors to audit and provide values of aviation property as well as billboards and cell towers. Woods said contracts could be limited to the revenue generated by the contract, guaranteeing the county breaks even on the endeavors, but it could add as much as $2 million to the tax rolls.

Comments

Wyoming1 2 years ago

Ok all you obama lovers keep this story in mind, when you vote. Hes going give us change and no hope. I as a county employee do not want to hear your bellyaching after the election. Take your medicine as obama would say.

1

BuzzG 2 years ago

"creation of a wellness center for county employees."..... "could mean a savings of up to $900,000 a year"

What total crap coming from this jerk. Taxpayers are going to have to bend over once again. What is in the water in Gwinnett that we tolerate these people year after year?

1

teelee 2 years ago

This is your Hope and Change!

0

teelee 2 years ago

Go ahead and vote for Obama again because he is so funny, handsome and makes you feel good when he goes after the evil business owners. Go ahead and vote for him just because he is black. It doesn't matter that he is driving this country towards a financial cliff!

0

Cleanupguy 2 years ago

And where would Romney drive us, Teepee - oh, sorry, he hasn't actually outlined any of that yet, all we know so far is massive defense increases and tax cuts for all. You realize, of course, that the national health care law was modeled after Romney's, originally touted even by Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation.....so what is your alternative suggestion? Any simpleton can throw stones, let's hear it! The story above this looks like taking an opportunity to bail out years of bad leadership decisions by blaming something totally unrelated, but why bother with facts.

0

CD 2 years ago

So let me get this straight: Obama is forcing the Gluttonous Heathens to build a roman spa for county employees? I thought the law only requires preventive services to be covered. You know, pay your copay and get a physical once a year? I'm not quite sure how a roman spa is needed to meet that requirement.

My employer has covered preventive care at 100% for decades. It just makes financial sense--and they do it without a spa.

0

Cleanupguy 2 years ago

Thanks for the intelligent comments - mine does as well, there is no spa requirement, and plans like ours encourage us to watch for cost reduction opportunities as well, like using generics. Sort of a taking responsibility for ourselves concept, which works very well.

1

Why_not 2 years ago

Who said anything about a spa? They are considering a clinic to offer preventive care only. With the number of employees in the county it makes perfect sense to me. Get your facts straight.

1

CD 2 years ago

So the existing healthcare facilities are just simply not up to par? It's too difficult to drive over and flash a benefit card? Or is it that a roman spa would be far more befitting to a Gluttonous Heathen?

0

Why_not 2 years ago

The county is self insured so the prospects of a county run facility for screenings and preventive care only would save money in the long term. This has been discussed for several years. Being self insured means that fewer claims relates to less tax dollars spent. We are talking several thousand employees and family members.....not a business with 50 employees only.

0

Why_not 2 years ago

Also, there is a very good chance that the county can use currently employees that are paramedics for some of the screening/preventive care. Keeping claim closts down is a great wAy to save all taxpayers money.

0

CD 2 years ago

Every company that I have worked for with revenues of 50MM to 40B/yr self insure--many times I actually have to approve the ACH transfer so I do understand. The insurance company merely processes the claim according to the plan guidelines. A roman spa is not needed and I cannot imagine any scenario where Gwinnett County could do anything more cheaply than an established provider on a negotiated plan basis. This is merely an opportunity for the Gluttonous Heathens to steal drugs and band-aids.

0

kevin 2 years ago

Quote:"Woods said officials expect the number of appeals of motor vehicle valuations to jump from about 100 a year to about 3,500 a year based on the law change. She asked for $175,000 to hire a contractor to help settle the disputes." Hire means spend your tax money. Why can't the present employees settle the disputes? Why can't the taxpayer figure out what avenue is best for them? Why do we need outsiders to come in and do this for a fee? Where is the leadership required for the Tax Commissioner position? And to call this a temporary problem! When did government do anything "temporary"?

1

wrighton 2 years ago

There is absolutely nothing done "temporary". That budget will only grow over time. Look no further than the price of gas.

0

R 2 years ago

It’s expanding the concept of self insurance to some degree.

At some point, it may make sense to take the preventive services under contract in house, rather than cover the markup of state providers.


EVERYONE needs MORE!

The saga continues, but the payers have no more left to take…

Demand more money from us so they can afford to TAKE even more money from us.

Time to transfer Chamber Funding back to county business FIRST.

“The change, which caused Tax Commissioner Richard Steele to ask for a boost in temporary staffing Monday, will require a higher one-time tax instead of the annual "birthday tax" currently collected.

Woods said officials expect the number of appeals of motor vehicle valuations to jump from about 100 a year to about 3,500 a year based on the law change. She asked for $175,000 to hire a contractor to help settle the disputes”

The Roman tax collectors return, who says the bible is no longer applied?

“In an attempt to boost tax revenues, the department is also seeking at total of $350,000 for contractors to audit and provide values of aviation property as well as billboards and cell towers. Woods said contracts could be limited to the revenue generated by the contract, guaranteeing the county breaks even on the endeavors, but it could add as much as $2 million to the tax roles.”

0

skygirl 2 years ago

CD, have you read the Obamacare Plan? Obviously not! You will not have a co-pay. It will be all free! Not a dime for preventative care. You also will have to pay for your employer provided insurance with after-tax dollars. How does that change and more taxes make you feel! Oh, and if that huge employer provided insurance is a "Cadillac" plan... More taxes! You can't have a plan better than others! That would be unfair. Enjoy you next four years! Hope you stay healthy!

0

CD 2 years ago

I actually have read much of it. Since my plan was in effect before 3/23/10 and there have been no material changes since the ACA to my plan, I will still have a preventive copay. I won't mind paying the copay. I don't mind now. There will be some changes to FSA's as far as after tax dollars. There has been a desire for decades to tax the value of benefits and I don't expect that to subside.

However, this thread is about the Gluttonous Heathens and their roman spa. We need to keep it on track.

0

kevin 2 years ago

Who are these "Gwinnett leaders" that is being mentioned in this article? BOC, Mr. Poe, who? The County will "never" save us money by "opening" another can of worms that needs to be staffed. I haven't seen any option for the electorate to meet with the BOC to discuss such a move, have you? Another under-the-table fiasco brewing! I do not think you people realize what it will cost to stock and supply a "preventive care facility" with doctors, nurses, equipment.(x-ray machines, labs, etc) If you think Mr Poe will get this done with a one-time $900,000 price tag, you much be smoking something good! What good is even a $900,000 saving if you must spend millions to start and continue paying for each year. These so-called "leaders" need to go. Make sure someone gets their names posted here.

0

kevin 2 years ago

Who are these "Gwinnett leaders" that is being mentioned in this article? BOC, Mr. Poe, who? The County will "never" save us money by "opening" another can of worms that needs to be staffed. I haven't seen any option for the public to meet with the BOC to discuss such a move, have you? Another under-the-table fiasco brewing! I do not think you people realize what it will cost to stock and supply a "preventive care facility" with doctors, nurses, equipment.(x-ray machines, labs, etc) If you think Mr Poe will get this done with a one-time $900,000 price tag, you must be smoking something good! What good is even a $900,000 saving if you must spend millions to start and continue paying for each year. These so-called "leaders" need to go. Make sure someone gets their names posted here. "Costs for the center, which could be housed in a county facility with a contractor providing medical staff, have not been determined. Poe said he expects the center could open in 2014, if leaders vote to move forward with the planning." THIS SAYS IT ALL.

0

Sign in to comment