Commissioners say rising healthcare costs due to health habits - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Commissioners say rising healthcare costs due to health habits

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In crunching the numbers, Vanderburgh County Commissioners say rising healthcare costs are partly due to the health habits of county employees. 

They say smoking, drinking, and obesity are examples that make health benefits more expensive.

Commission President Marsha Abell says the county will pay $15 million for healthcare in 2014. She says co-pays will go up and the deductible for emergency room visits will rise from $100 to $500 next year.

Employees raised concerns about the new Anthem plan during an informational meeting on Wednesday night.

Abell says employees' overall health and misuse of the ER are just two reasons insurance rates are rising.

"Well, we are not a very healthy group unfortunately. The use of the ER room was rarely an emergency. It was usually a convenience. We have to realize that it's not a convenient way to take your children or you to go in when you've got a cold," Abell said.

"It affects me and everybody that works for the county who has this insurance. I mean, like I said having a small child, anything can happen and whenever you go from $100 to $500, that's a big increase," said Lori Samples, a county employee.

Nationwide Insurance companies say 50 to 75 percent of all claims are driven by bad health behaviors. Abell says that's why county workers will also gain access to the city's health and wellness clinic.

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