The county is again facing another 24-percent increase in health insurance premiums, a difference of up to about $134,000, as supervisors consider the Fiscal 2019 budget.

The county saw its health insurance premiums increase last year 25 percent, bringing the per employee insurance rate to $552.77.

The insurance discussions were part of an overall budget proposal of about $14,150,905, flat due to no growth, officials said. The board will take budget proposals through Aug. 20 and final approval is due on or before Sept. 15.

Allen Hardy with Philadelphia Security Insurance presented the proposal from United Healthcare for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to the Neshoba County Board of Supervisors Monday during their regularly scheduled meeting.

“Health insurance is a mess,” Hardy told the supervisors during the meeting. “Our drug costs were almost as high as our medical claims. A lot of it has to do with the market itself. The pharmacy costs are out of control.”

Hardy presented two proposals for the board’s consideration. One would raise the current premium for the county 24.62 percent, while the second would mean an increase of 22.48 percent. The difference in the proposals was the amount of copays that the employee would be responsible for and the overall out of pocket costs.

The higher proposal matches the county’s current plan. Under the terms of the proposal, the premium rate for a single employee would increase from $552.77 to $688.68. For the county that would be an increased annual cost of $133,614 total.

Hardy said that if the county goes with United for other medical services such as vision and dental, United would be willing to reduce the rate the county pays on healthcare up to two percent.

Hardy said that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi was also open to looking at its rates for coverage.

Last year the county went with United Healthcare and away from Blue Cross Blue Shield because Blue Cross was looking to increase health insurance rates 60 percent instead of the 25 percent increase proposed by United. Hardy said he did not have rates available for the board Monday, but could get that information for the next board meeting.  

The board took no action as they asked Hardy to price a few additional options.  

In other budgeting discussions, the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Museum Council and the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Public Library made similar funding requests, with the library asking for a $1,000 increase.

Mack Alford presented the Museum Council’s budget where he asked for the same $10,000 that the county provided this fiscal year.

Library Director Jacob Starks requested $241,000 from the county for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2018, a $1,000 increase.

Starks said that the library was currently working with private partners with the goal of generating its own revenue in the future.

“It is how we see the future of the library,” Starks said. “Not only to partner with local businesses, but governments and non-profits as well.”

In other business:

• The supervisors approved a request from Sheriff Tommy Waddell to accept and execute a DUI funding grant in the amount of $29,120.

• The supervisors voted to approve the resignation of emergency management employee  Shannon Taylor as a full-time employee. Taylor will remain with the department as a part time employee.