It's a discussion most employers are having, insurance premiums.

For Ford County, insurance premiums will be raised 30 percent from the Affordable Care Act and concerns on the increase were raised during the county commission meeting on Monday.

"We are talking about paying 95 percent of the increase for the employees and the employees will pay 5 percent as an option," Ford County Administrator J.D. Gilbert said.

The tiers of coverage for county employees are single, employee plus spouse, employee plus child and family plan.

"As ugly as these numbers are, we shopped around and found a better rate than most counties," Commissioner Chris Boys said. "If we would have stayed with the old rate it really would have beat us up.

"They would have been worse than they are now."

Gilbert along with county HR director Pat Heeke broke down the numbers on the the county paying 100 percent across the board, 95 percent and 75 percent of the increase.

"These are the lesser of the ugly numbers," Heeke said.

The general consensus being that the 95 percent being the plausible option.

"Looking at the numbers," county chairman Shawn Tasset said, "staying with the 95 percent seems now to make the most sense than anything we've talked about so far.

"It's what we started doing last year."

The time table on the payouts for insurance would be over the next 18 months as opposed to a 12-month time table.

Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr, Ford County Fire Chief Robert Boyd and Ford County Clerk Debbie Cox as well as several other county department heads in the audience, raised concerns on the insurance with retaining employees.

"I have lost jailers already because of salary," Carr said.

With the county budget for 2018, the line item is $2 million according to Heeke.

Boys added that when the new wind farms in the area go online an influx of money from those would come into the county as well as with $1.3 million in cash already on hand.

"And the next time we do this after the 18 months we won't be doing this in November," Gilbert said.

Commissioner Ken Snook added, "Because we'll have less employees?"

"We'll be ahead of the budget process instead of behind," Heeke said.

Commissioners approved the 95 percent of the increase pending a budget review and scheduled a special meeting for final approval some time next week.

Commissioners also approved to acquire new radios for the road and bridge department for $192,215.01 that will come from the capital equipment fund.

The commissioners also approved to purchase a new Ford County Sheriff's Office vehicle for $23,541 that includes a trade-in from Lewis Ford.

To contact the writer email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com