County makes MERP mandatory
4:28 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Health care changes coming for county employees

Some Hamilton County employees could see a big change coming to their health insurance. Commissioner Chris Monzel wants to make the county's Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan (MERP) mandatory for all eligible, non-union employees.

The MERP was offered last year on a voluntary basis. Monzel says 180 people signed up for the plan and the results suggest the county could see big savings.

“In order to really generate the savings that our administration says is possible you have to have more people involved with it. So, by making it mandatory, by having all the employees under the Board of Commissioners participate, we could generate savings of around, potentially, $5 million per year,” he says.

MERPs save money because employees move to their spouse or partner's insurance plan and the county pays only those medical expenses not reimbursed by that plan.

Monzel says other companies are likely going to begin moving to similar plans so it’s important to be an early adopter.

“The issue is that when you have other entities starting to do that, then are their employees going to be coming on our health care plan and then that drive up our cost? So that’s why we have to be first in as soon as possible to be able to take advantage of the savings.”

All three commissioners support the mandatory MERP. They're expected to approve the plan next week.