HARTWELL, GA (WSPA) – The Hartwell mayor confirmed that employees will soon lose their health insurance.
Mayor Brandon Johnson said city employees’ insurance coverage is set to end at midnight on April 30.
City of Hartwell employees are currently insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Johnson said the latest renewal quote was $1.8 million – $900,000 more than the previous renewal.
City officials looked into the matter and found that they would have to immediately increase utility rates 25 percent to offset costs.
Johnson said had they gone that route, city officials would probably reduced rates next budget season, but would have had to increase property taxes by 66 percent.
They felt asking citizens to take on such large increases would be detrimental and unsustainable, so they made the decision to no longer offer insurance.
The city has 90 employees and 200 people signed up in the insurance group.
Johnson said a broker has been meeting with employees to discuss individual needs, available options and answer questions.
He said it’s their goal to begin the process of looking at health care options, but said that won’t be resolved by May 1.
Johnson said the city is also looking at other ways to compensate employees and make it right.
He’s hopeful employees will stay as they work to figure out a solution.