The Sheridan Press

SHERIDAN — A recent opinion by the state attorney general gives local governments the option of enrolling in the state’s employee health insurance plan.

That’s one more option governments can consider when weighing the benefits they offer their employees.

According to the opinion, the term “political subdivision” includes cities, towns and counties, and those entities are therefore allowed to join the state insurance program. That gives municipal governments the same right to participate in the state health insurance plan as Wyoming school districts. Despite having that option though, only Natrona County’s school district currently participates in the state plan.

During the Wyoming Association of Municipalities Legislative Leadership Committee meeting last week, Executive Director J. David Fraser said WAM has pushed the state to allow municipal governments on the state plan.

By the time the decision was issued, most municipal governments were already well into the process of renewing their insurance plans and drafting budgets. So they could not feasibly consider a last-minute switch.

But having another insurance option for future years could give municipal governments more flexibility in their choice of health insurance providers. According to the Wyoming County Commissioners Association, 17 of the 23 counties in Wyoming offer self-managed insurance plans to their employees and that includes Teton County.

Sheridan County Administrative Director Renee Obermueller said she does not anticipate the county will change the self-managed health insurance plan it offers to its employees anytime soon, but knowing there is another option is comforting in a market where options are limited.

“Right now we’re comfortable staying with our self-insured, self-managed plan,” she said. “But the opportunity to be able to have that state option available in the future is certainly something we don’t want to discount.”

Contact Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington at 732-7078 or rebecca@jhnewsandguide.com.

Managing Editor Rebecca Huntington has worked for newspapers across the West. She hosts a rescue podcast, The Fine Line. Her family minivan doubles as her not-so-high-tech recording studio.

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