Fiscal Summit notes


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Fiscal Summit notes

  1. 1. Fiscal Summit Notes – Commissioners’ Office 2010 Three areas of cost savings – Insurance plan changes, fighting unemployment claims, and technology improvements. Insurance – While it is difficult to find the direct correlation between a specific change in our health plan and our costs savings over the last few years, we know that through our continual comprehensive approach to examining our insurance benefits we will spend 24% less on insurance claims this year than in 2007. We are self-insured, meaning, we pay all of our own insurance claims, so for us, that is real money saved. In March 2007, we opened an employee health clinic. The clinic costs us around $450,000 a year to operate. Since March 2007, we have covered the cost to operate the clinic and saved an additional $170,000 in direct costs. A quarter of primary care visits by employees on our insurance happen in our county clinic. As this number continues to increase, our insurance costs will decrease. We’ve also done the typical business changes to our plan. We’ve increased deductibles and maximum out of pocket expenses for our employees. However, we haven’t increased monthly premiums. We’ve also added two Health Savings Accounts to our plan offerings, which our cheaper for us to offer than traditional health plans. Deb Hudson, our benefits manager, works very closely with our insurance agent and our third-party administrator to keep us up to date and current with our benefits package. Most importantly though, we have put a strong emphasis on wellness and preventative medicine. In 2006, we offered $120/year per person for wellness, in 2010 we offered $800 per year per person. While this costs us more money up front, we’ve expanded the number of exams covered under the wellness benefit to not just be prostate exams and mammograms, but also routine exams, weight loss programs, smoking cessation, acupuncture for cessation and weight loss, and gym membership. It stands to reason that healthy employees cost less to insure. Gym memberships have been very popular. To receive the reimbursement, employees must go to the gym four times a month and have a form signed by the gym. Though I may not show it, my wife, son, and I have made going to the YMCA on Dupont a family outing. They can go swim, I can get on the treadmill. It may sound like fun, and it is, but if our employees are in better physical shape, our insurance claims will go down. This will have positive long-term affects on our employee’s health and our future insurance costs. Unemployment – Allen County is self-funded in paying its unemployment claims. We are a reimbursable employer. When an employee is laid off or downsized due to budget cuts, they are eligible for unemployment insurance. They go through the Indiana Department of Workforce Development system and we get a bill. However, more often than you would think, employees who are fired for just cause also file for unemployment insurance. If our HR manager, Janette Jacquay, were not on top of this, we would be paying out money for employees who were justly fired. Since 2007, we have appealed 100% of just cause unemployment claims to the state and won 95% of them. Between 2007 and 2009, Janette has prevented Allen County taxpayers from paying $427,000 in unemployment claims. It has been difficult to work with the state on unemployment claims the last few years due to higher than normal unemployment rates, especially in the northeast region. Some of our neighbors have been hit very hard. Due to the
  2. 2. Fiscal Summit Notes – Commissioners’ Office 2010 backlog, Janette has worked tirelessly to make sure we appeal every claim, our case is heard, and more often than not, she is successful. Technology – Allen County has an outstanding IT department as well as an outstanding IT vendor, ATOS Origin. By keeping an eye out for less expensive technology, negotiating our pricing, and altering our basic PC configuration, our IT Director Ed Steenman has saved Allen County $30,000 annually on our computer refresh program. We have saved $125 per computer over the last three years and we refresh on average 250 computers a year. We have also begun to utilize virtual servers. We run as many as 10 virtual servers on one real server. Servers are a few thousand dollars a piece. So we save on server hardware costs and the associated costs to operate them. We’ve also saved money by using software to make employees more productive. One example of this is in our HR Department. They recently launched an online applicant tracking program called NeoGov. In 2009, HR processed 9,299 applications. Most all were paper applications that were individually examined and scanned in to our document management system. We spent $48,000 in staff time processing applications last year. NeoGov processes and pre-screens applications based on criteria established by which ever department posted the job. It cost us $15,000 to implement and $10,000 a year in maintenance fees. While we won’t be able to reduce our headcount with this software, our HR recruiter, Marlena Lewis will be able to spend more of her time recruiting, instead of processing applications. Government needs the best and brightest and that means going to job fairs and talking with college classes, Marlena will now have the time to do these things. One other quick item, we have made a concerted effort over the last few years to eliminate non- emergency vehicles from our fleet. We had 150 a few years ago and we are down to 70 now. We have taken another pass at it and hope to knock another 20 from our count. This saves us between $750 and $1,000 per vehicle on liability insurance. Thank you for letting me share our hard work with you today.