GIRARD — Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas Representative Cristy Mitchell attended the regular meeting of the Crawford County Commission Monday to further discuss the county’s insurance plan.

The commission discussed where the county stands for its annual stop loss. Mitchell said there is still an approximately $300,000 gap for the year. The commission also asked about options for helping with costs, without raising employee premiums.

Mitchell said some counties — such as Labette County — have done a total carve out of spouses. If a county employee’s spouse is able to get coverage from another provider, the county does not provide them with insurance. Mitchell said a higher premium is charged to cover children.

“I don’t want to see us do that,” Commissioner Jeff Murphy said. “I think we need to raise premiums, but I want to keep offering a good, affordable plan.”

Commissioner Carl Wood agreed. Wood asked about the county’s plan covering retirees.

Currently, retired county employees may stay under the coverage of the county. The commission discussed removing employees when they turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare. Mitchell said numerous Medicare supplement plans are available through other providers, making it unnecessary for the county to cover those retirees.

The commission is looking at removing retirees when they turn 65, in an effort to keep the increase in employee premiums as low as possible. It is also looking into increasing premiums in a staggered nature, based on employee salary. If an employee makes $50,000 per year, their premium may increase more than an employee making $35,000 per year, for example.

Additionally, County Zoning Administrator Troy Graham spoke to the commission about empty lots owned by the county that may be available for development. He also informed the commission of some odd parcels of land under county ownership including a small triangle of grass at an intersection of N. Rouse Street and 27th Street in Pittsburg, as well as a 4-foot piece of land between 218 and 220 E. 22nd Street.

County Clerk Don Pyle presented the May clerk’s report. It was accepted by the commission.

— Chance Hoener is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. He can be emailed at choener@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @ReporterChance.