By CLINT FOSTER
PALO PINTO - The Palo Pinto County commissioner’s court approved future changes to its health insurance policy that should save County taxpayers a “significant” amount.
According to Palo Pinto County Judge David Nicklas, as of October 1 of this year, spouses of County employees will no longer be allowed to use County health insurance as a secondary policy. If a spouse has group coverage available at their place of employment, then they will have to take it through their employer and will not be eligible for County health insurance plan at all.
"It’s not going to force anyone to get an individual policy or anything like that, but if an employee’s spouse works for another company that offers group health insurance, they have to take that,” County auditor Steve Watson said. “It doesn’t effect that many people, but our health insurance benefits consultants informed me that it will most likely save tax payers money on health insurance costs and what the county has to pay for health insurance premiums.”
Brenson Benefits was hired by the county specifically to help lower costs. It would appear they have done their job well and the results will be noticeable to Palo Pinto County citizens.
“I would say there will be substantial savings to the County,” Nicklas said.
Watson added that, although taxpayers may not necessarily see taxes go down, even if tax rates stay the same, it will be a victory for Palo Pinto’s pocketbooks.
“This will save money for them that could either keep tax rates the same or lower them,” he said. “Costs always go up fuel goes up; things go up. So, finding everywhere you can cut is helpful for the taxpayer, whether it explicitly makes taxes go down or keeps them from going up as high as they could go up.”