Providing health care to township employees is the number one priority of the trustees, said Lee Bodnar, Orange Township administrator.
Hoping to give employees better options, the township trustees have decided to shop the market.
“We need to explore and examine and make sure in the marketplace we’re getting the best bang for our buck,” Bodnar said. “The second priority is doing what is diligent and prudent at being good stakeholders of tax dollars.”
Trustees signed a letter of intent to withdraw from the Ohio Public Entity Consortium Healthcare Cooperative (OPEC-HC) June 19. The letter also included the possibility to resend the letter by Aug. 31 and staying with OPEC-HC.
Bodnar said the board of OPEC-HC informed its members the consortium had a deficit and if they wanted to leave the consortium, per the agreement, they would have to pay their fair share of the deficit. If the township does withdraw, its share of the deficit would be approximately $500,000.
Trustees have extended an invitation to Frank Harmon of OPEC-HC for a discussion at their July 17 meeting.
Bodnar said the consortium is a way to share the cost of health care. He said the consortium contains about 150 groups with about 3,200 members. The township has about 60-70 full-time employees enrolled in OPEC-HC.
Bodnar said since the agreement with OPEC-HC is coming to an end, the township is investigating the and comparing it to what OPEC-HC could offer.
“Per the agreement the township executed three years ago, stated you had to give a six-month notice to withdraw from the consortium,” he said. “It’s smart on their part and smart for us.”
Bodnar said given the current climate of health care coverage, it would only be smart to look at options and that the township has formed a committee to just that.
“We’ve internally developed a health and wellness committee made up of representatives of each department within our organization,” he said. “At the end of the day it should be a group decision. If you have skin in the game you should probably know what you’re getting into or know why it was decided instead of just top down decisions.”
Bodnar said by having a committee in place also helps to “disseminate information out in the organization.”
“The reality is we try to get input from a lot of other people in the organization,” he said. “We try to facilitate more of a team atmosphere to things. The last thing is causing concern in our little group of employees.”
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.