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WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 20, 2013, 10:35 PM

West Fargo employees paying more for health insurance premiums

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - After unexpected health insurance hikes, West Fargo city employees will have to step up to cover rising premiums.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

West Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - After unexpected health insurance hikes, West Fargo city employees will have to step up to cover rising premiums.

For the first time ever, employees, on single plans, will be paying part of their premiums.

"It's everyone."

Starting next year all West Fargo city employees will be paying more for health insurance.

Much more.

Rich Mattern/West Fargo Mayor: 'It's a sanitation guy, or whether it's a guy blowing the streets out in the winter."

Or Director of Economic Development Matt Marshall and his family.

"Everyone is kind of in this together."

The cost kick ins come after projected increases in the city's budget from Blue Cross Blue Shield were slightly off.

"We were told around that time it would be around 10 percent, which I thought was high."

Never imagining it'd come in double that- 22.9%.

"There is a 12 point 9 percent difference from what we were told to what it really was. So that was a huge number for us."

Even larger, the amount of money the city.. And now its employees will have to swallow.

Some sight increasing claims, and others the affordable care act.

But the combination of the two, leaving West Fargo 185 thousand dollars short.

"Where are we going to get that money?"

City employees on a single plan will now have to pay about 12 percent of their premium, up from zero.

That's an increase of about $32 per pay period.

Matt Marshall/City Employee: “Unfortunately that's kind of the new reality.”

Mattern: You know, it's just one of those things you get hit with and it comes out of the blue and surprises you.

For families like Matt's, they'll see spikes in premiums, paired with a doubling deductible.

Marshall: I think to a lot of families that is hard. I mean essentially for a family that's going to be able 60 dollars a month.

The city will pick up the remaining $100,000.

Mattern: We're going to take a look at the budget and find out where we can save some money.

While families find a way to adjust.

Marshall: “We'll just have to cut things out to make it work.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield will not comment on premium levels of customers.

The City of Fargo also has coverage from Blue Cross Blue Shield; Mayor Walaker says they still haven't received word if their rates will increase more than projected.

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