By Tracy Clemons
PEVELY, Mo. (KSDK) - More than 40 City of Pevely workers will lose their health insurance after January 31. The plan was set to expire at the end of December, but the city bought an extra month to give employees an opportunity to find an alternative plan.
"The rates for the employees went up 48 and a half percent, which is an additional $200,000 to the city and we just don't have the money right now to pay for the insurance," says City Administrator Terry Thomas.
The bill jumped from $29,000 for this month to $59,000 to keep it beyond January.
"Most of it is the employees here are a little bit older and they've got some re-occurring issues. The insurance company just said based on claims they don't want to lose money so they raised the rates," Thomas said.
He says they haven't found a plan they can afford.
"We're working diligently to try to come up with a plan for the employees that's not too expensive and doesn't have too much of a high deductible," he said.
The people who walk through the doors of City Hall every day are not the only ones affected by this insurance dilemma. Whole households are affected.
"You never know what might happen," says Cpl. George Coon with the Pevely Police Department. "You could trip. You could fall. You could get sick. You know with a heart condition or anything like that, it's a bad deal. You can't afford it because that would be devastating. You just couldn't afford to pay if an illness took place. If you have no insurance, it could just wipe you out financially."
"I have two young children, one in high school, one in junior high. They do play sports, so it's definitely something I have to look into addressing for them," adds City Clerk Stephanie Haas.
Her oldest is a senior and runs track.
"Without health insurance he can't finish out his senior year in sports," she said.
She says she's found policies for all three of them that she says she can't afford. But for just the kids, it's doable.
"I'll probably have to be without, and knock on wood, hopefully nothing happens. But I'd rather have my kids covered and know that they're secure than anything else," she said.
But she's hoping that won't last too long.
Terry Thomas says there's no way they'll have anything in place by the 31, so some workers going without insurance is inevitable.
Whenever he finds the right plan, the final decision is in the hands of the Pevely Board of Aldermen.