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Different insurance carrier saving board, employees money

March 26, 2012
DEANNE JOHNSON - Staff Writer , Salem News

LISBON - By utilizing a different carrier and program, the Columbiana County Board of Health was able to approve new health insurance last week which will save money for both the employees and the health department.

Health Commissioner Wesley Vins said the program through Health America Insurance will save the department $61,984. Previously, the board had asked employees to pick up an additional 5 percent of their health insurance premium. Now the board will be able to pay that 5 percent for the employees again and still see a savings of $48,815.

Vins said the program is geared more toward the needs of the health department, instead of lumping them in with a larger group. He said he was glad they were able to pass some of the savings back to the staff.

In other matters before the board:

- Free radon gas test kits are currently available through the Board of Health. Radon is an odorless, colorless and tasteless radioactive gas, which comes from the break down of Uranium in the rocks below the earth.

The radon can then leak into homes in Ohio through dirt floors, crawl spaces, cracks in the walls and unsealed sump pumps. Prolonged exposure to Radon can cause lung issues including lung cancer.

- Public pool operators will see increases in the cost of pool operating inspections of between $8 or even $200, according to Vins. The state has increased the fees, and additionally, a requirement has been added this year dealing with installing unblockable drains to prevent a child from being drowned by the suction.

The new rates go into effect April 1, and an explanation of the new rates are available on the Ohio Department of Health's website. The new drains must be installed by May 28.

- Nurse Barb Knee announced the department received a grant of more than $30,000 to continue the immunization program. Vins also announced about $75 million will be available throughout the state to continue dilapidated home demolition programs.

He thanked East Liverpool Mayor Jim Swoger for his involvement with the program.



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