Hayden, employees share savings in health plan

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— Hayden found a new health insurance provider that will save the town and employees money for the rest of the year.

Hayden Town Council on Thurs­day accepted an agreement with Starmark Healthy Incentives to provide insurance, switching from Rocky Mountain Health Plans. The switch will provide savings to Hayden for the rest of the year of more than $94,000, Town Manager David Torgler said Tuesday.

Torgler said the new health insurance plan also would provide an average savings for Hayden’s 12 employees of about 33 percent.

He said after Hayden’s health insurance rates last year in­­creased about 80 percent, higher premiums that the town and its workers shared, it was important to pass along savings to employees.

“Now the town and employees are sharing in the benefits of the new insurance,” Torgler said. “We’ve shared in the costs, and now we’re sharing in the rewards.”

Mayor Jim Haskins praised Finance Director Lisa Dowling and Hayden’s insurance broker for continuing to look for health insurance providers that could save the town money.

Haskins said he’s pleased Hayden provided savings to employees, even as the economy continues to struggle.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s great for the town because it gives us more flexibility from a budget standpoint, and it’s certainly a morale boost for the employees, knowing what we’re going through.”

That budget flexibility al­­lowed Hayden to reinstate bon­­uses that weren’t provided in 2010, which Town Coun­­cil mem­­bers approved. It will cost the town less than $14,000 to reinstate the fiscal year 2010 bonuses of 2 percent to workers still employed by Hayden.

In other action, the Town Coun­cil approved a special events permit for the Solandt Mem­­­orial Hospital Ball on March 19 and gave the Hayden Po­­­lice Department the go-ahead to pursue another Justice Assis­tance Grant for fiscal year 2012.

Town Council members also approved an engineering proposal from Glenwood Springs-based Schmueser Gordon Mey­er for wastewater treatment facility improvements required by the Colorado De­­part­ment of Pub­lic Health and Environ­­ment.

The proposal will cost $23,126, but Hayden previously received a $10,000 grant from the Colorado Water Resources Power Development Authority to help cover the costs. Torgler said the remaining funding was budgeted this year for professional services, and the report is scheduled for completion in spring.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or e-mail jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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