Health insurance for city employees will cost about 3% more in the coming year, a company representative told the city council Tuesday.

The council met at 7:30 p.m. They approved several items with little or no discussion.

Spencer Thomas, representing Novo Benefits of Englewood, Colo., said the actual health and accident insurance costs will climb 0.29%, and recommended city officials budget a 3% increase for employees as well as from general funds.

That would be far less than most health insurance hikes. A 6-10% increase is the norm, Thomas said.

“We are working hard to keep the costs to the city down,” Thomas said, adding that language in the agreement has been strengthened in favor of the city, specifying medical costs that are paid under the plan.

The city pays about $5 million a year into the self-insurance plan, with employees contributing about 20% of that amount. Normally, that sum will cover the payouts with a little left over for a rainy day, Thomas said.

The council authorized Mayor Dwight Livingston to sign the agreement with Novo Benefits.

“We know group health benefits are expensive, frustrating, and complicated and want to be part of the solution,” Novo Benefits says on its website.

The company was organized in 2007 by insurance professionals who were frustrated by “the limited solutions available” to companies with less than 5,000 employees, the website says.


In other action, the council: 

• Approved a special liquor permit for the Prairie Arts Center on Saturday, April 21 to serve alcohol on a portion of West Fifth St., next to the arts center parking lot, at a spring Husker game fundraiser from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

• Approved a grant application for state and federal money to fund the city’s public transit operation in fiscal year 2018-19.  The federal and state government would pay $514,000, if the grant is approved. Local sources would contribute about $112,000, according to council documents.

• Annexed land on East Philip Ave into the city limits on third and final reading. The land is home to a crematorium.

• Certified the completion of East Francis from Popular to Tabor. Francis St. was extended to connect to Tabor.

• Certified the completion of a new sanitary sewer line along Halligan Drive.