GIRARD — The Crawford County Commission meet with its benefits consultant, Gallagher Benefit Services, to discuss further options surrounding the county’s employee benefits issues at its regular meeting Tuesday.

Since the beginning of 2017, the county — which uses a self-insured plan — has been regularly hit with large claims through employee insurance. The commission has transferred a total of $525,000 — in 2017 — out of other county funds to cover insurance costs exceeding what the county makes from monthly premiums.

Gallagher representatives brought Private Exchange Practice Lead Chris Baldwin to the meeting to discuss the Gallagher Marketplace as an alternative option.

The marketplace brings multiple insurance plan options into one location online. Baldwin said under this setup, the county would put forward a defined dollar amount contribution, and employees would be allowed to select the insurance coverage that best meets their needs.

“The marketplace is like a grocery store,” Baldwin said. “Medical coverage is an aisle, vision is an aisle and dental is an aisle. The county’s contribution is like a gift card employees can use toward the plan they want.”

This option would make budgeting slightly easier on the county, knowing exactly how much they would be contributing to employees each month. However, the county would still have to cover claims costs until it reached the individual stop-loss point — currently set at $100,000.

The marketplace would also have employees answer questions and recommend a cover plan that would fit them, but they would have the option to select any plan in the marketplace.

The county will look into this option, but has also discussed the possibility of increasing employee premiums, which may be necessary.

In other business, the commission met with Crawford County District Court Administrator Mac Young to discuss the court’s budget for next year. The proposed budget asks for a 4.5 percent increase over last year’s budget. The increase is to offset an uptick in costs for interpreters, transcripts and necessary technology upgrades.

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