Updated 

Health insurance premiums rise for Henderson employees


The majority of Henderson’s employees will pay a larger share of their health insurance premiums under a collective bargaining agreement unanimously approved Tuesday by the City Council.

“The creation of the contract was driven by the changing dynamics emanating from the Affordable Care Act,” said Fred Horvath, the city’s director of human resources.

The contract strictly addresses employee benefits provided by the city’s self-funded insurance plan and will cost the city an additional $550,000 for the remainder of fiscal 2014.

“I think this is very progressive and very forward-thinking,” Councilwoman Debra March said.

Horvath warned employees last year to expect an increase in the cost of their premiums because of the federal health care law, commonly called Obamacare, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama and validated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Horvath said the increase was not caused solely by the new health care law but also by medical inflation.

The new contract affects about 500 employees who receive health and welfare benefits through the city’s self-funded plan. They include police officers, police supervisors and firefighters.

About 550 nonrepresented employees will experience the same increase in premiums.

Under the new contract, family coverage will increase by $30 a month next year and will go up an additional $33 a month in 2015.

Horvath said the plan is managed by the self-funded insurance committee, which is run by eight equal voting members representing the public safety unions and the nonrepresented employees. Horvath is chairman and one of the voting members.

The public safety unions ratified the contract before it came before the council.

Horvath said the city has been contributing $847 a month to the internal services fund, which is used to run the self-funded medical plan, for each employee since 2008, but the fund has been using reserves.

Under the new contract, the city will contribute $875 a month for each employee. That amounts to about $2 million extra for calendar years 2014 and 2015.

In turn, the employee contributions will increase by $1 million during that time. Employees, who previously paid 6 percent of their premiums, will pay 15 percent.

“Everybody’s sharing the cost of the increases, and that’s what you do in a partnership,” said Norm “Doc” Halliday, president of the Henderson Police Officers Association and a member of the self-funded insurance committee.

The union represents about 330 police and corrections officers.

Dan Pentkowski, president of the Henderson firefighters union, called the new contract “an absolute win-win.”

Everyone is paying more, he acknowledged, “but we’re doing that in a very fair, a very prudent way.”

Pentkowski also sits on the self-fund insurance committee. His union has about 190 members.

The 700 city employees represented by the Teamsters union get health benefits from a separate self-funded plan.

Henderson, Nevada’s second-largest city, has about 1,750 full-time employees and a population of more than 270,000.

GOLF CLUB MANAGEMENT CHANGING?

Wildhorse Golf Club, Henderson’s municipal golf course, may soon be under new management.

The City Council authorized staff to enter into contract negotiations with Par 4 Golf Management, despite a protest from Wright Golf Management, which has managed the course since 2005.

“We were dissatisfied with a number of provisions in the current contract,” City Manager Jacob Snow said.

In June, the city chose to put the contract out to bid. After receiving six proposals, city staff recommended the selection of Par 4.

Snow said Par 4 manages other golf clubs in Southern Nevada, including the Badlands Golf Club in Las Vegas and the Primm Valley Golf Club, and has access to a network of customers.

INTENT TO AUCTION LAND APPROVED

Also Tuesday, the City Council unanimously adopted a resolution expressing intent to sell about 16 acres at public auction for a minimum price of $3.4 million.

The property is at the southeast corner of Aurora Drive and Buckhorn Street, near South Gibson Road and West Horizon Ridge Parkway.

Pardee Homes has expressed an interest in buying the land.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at cgeer@reviewjournal.com or 702-384-8710. Follow @CarriGeer on Twitter.

 

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