Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Disabilities agency ends spousal health insurance

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BOWLING GREEN — Wood County Developmental Disabilities will no longer provide health coverage to the spouses of its employees, a move the agency said will save thousands of dollars annually.

Starting Jan. 1, spouses of employees will lose coverage under the county agency’s insurance plan as part of its efforts to reduce expenses while continuing to provide services to individuals with disabilities and their families, Superintendent Melanie Stretchbery said.

The developmental disabilities board, by a 6-0 vote, approved the policy change in health-insurance coverage on Nov. 18. The children and other dependents of employees currently covered under the health-insurance program will not be affected.

Ms. Stretchbery said about 40 percent of the agency’s 360 employees will be affected. Elimination of the coverage is expected to save about $700,000 in the first year.

The board had contemplated the change for months, Ms. Stretchbery said, as part of efforts to cut the agency’s operating budget. She said employees had been made aware of the proposed change before the action was taken last month.

“We are reducing expenditures in other areas as well. We are trying to preserve vitally needed services to individuals with disabilities and their families,” the superintendent said. “As a human-service agency, if we reduce services, we will need fewer employees. Thus this very difficult decision also preserves jobs.”

Voters in November approved a new 2.95-mill, five-year property levy, the first new tax issue the developmental disabilities board put before voters in 13 years.

The new tax is projected to generate an additional $8,138,030 annually, beginning in 2014. The board collects nearly $12.6 million annually from seven existing, continuous levies.

Ms. Stretchbery said elimination of spousal coverage and other cuts are among the agency’s efforts to cut $1.5 million from its budget and show that the board is being accountable with taxpayer funds.

Contact Mark Reiter at: or 419-724-6199.

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