Maries County commission discusses insurance quotes, grants

By Colin Willard, Staff Writer
Posted 11/15/23

VIENNA — Maries County Commissioners on Nov. 6 reviewed health insurance quotes from Clinton-based Mike Keith Insurance, Inc.

The county previously had supplemental insurance through the …

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Maries County commission discusses insurance quotes, grants


VIENNA — Maries County Commissioners on Nov. 6 reviewed health insurance quotes from Clinton-based Mike Keith Insurance, Inc.

The county previously had supplemental insurance through the company. The table in the packet showed several providers including BCBS, CBC, Missouri Chamber, Anthem ACA and United Healthcare. Only CBC included an exact quote. The others either declined to quote or showed estimates.

A representative from Mike Keith Insurance had not been to a commission meeting this year, so the commissioners had questions about the packet. They spoke with an agent by phone during the meeting.

Presiding Commissioner Victor Stratman asked if the quote for Anthem, the county’s current provider, was accurate or if it would require a health survey of county employees to get an exact amount. The renewal rate was lower than the one quoted from Anthem by the county’s current broker, which has more detailed information about the county’s insurance costs.

The agent said the value was only an estimated renewal rate because her company does not have any cost details. Only CBC had an exact quote.

The packet also included a list of hospitals in a 50-mile radius that were included with the quoted network. Stratman asked if the commission could receive network information on hospitals outside that radius, namely in Columbia and St. Louis. The agent said she could put together hospital comparisons for those areas.

During a meeting the previous week with another insurance broker, the commission discussed the possibility of Anthem leaving the Jefferson City Medical Group’s (JCMG) network after negotiations had stalled between the provider and the practices. On Nov. 7, JCMG announced that it had reached an agreement with Anthem to continue coverage within its network.

Wallstreet Group, the county’s insurance broker, sent the county more information about getting a health insurance quote from Travelers Insurance. After reviewing the information about Travelers, the commissioners said it did not seem like Travelers would work for the county.

Election Security Grant

Deputy County Clerk Renee Kottwitz attended a compliance webinar for an Enhancing Election Security grant from the Missouri Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Office of Homeland Security.

The state administers the grant, but the federal government funds the program through the Grants Programs Directorate within the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to a DPS notice of funding opportunity, the program’s purpose is to assist “state and local efforts to build, sustain and deliver the capabilities necessary to prevent, prepare for, protect against and respond to acts of terrorism through projects that enhance election security.” The grant provides funding for physical security enhancements to the infrastructure of elections.

The grant provides up to $15,000 to applicants for election security improvements. Physical security enhancements may include cameras to monitor election equipment in the courthouse.

Cybersecurity grant

Stratman said Nov. 6 that the Meramec Regional Planning Commission’s (MRPC) counties would no longer apply together for the Fiscal Year 2023 State and Local Cybersecurity Grant Program. At a meeting in October, the commission had signed a pledge to join the coalition for the grant application.

Although the application would not work for a coalition, Stratman said counties had an opportunity to apply on their own. The cost to the county would be about $12,800. He asked IT Manager Shane Sweno if the grant would help the county.

Sweno said he would look at the grant and see if it would work for the county.

Fish Hollow

At the Nov. 9 meeting, the commission asked the prosecuting attorney’s office about the status of the proposed findings and conclusions that the defendant and plaintiff in the Fish Hollow lawsuit both needed to submit. Nov. 12 marked 30 days from the date of the trial, which was the deadline for both sides to file the documents.

Legal secretary Denise Davis with the prosecutor’s office said she planned to file the defense’s proposed findings and conclusions later that day. She said once each side had filed the documents she could bring copies to the commission.

Judge John Beger will release his ruling after he has had time to review the documents.

Cell Tower

The commission received correspondence from someone asking if they would support a project that would put a T-Mobile cellphone tower in Argyle. The commissioners said they were in favor of the project and the county clerk’s office could reply with support in an email.

Christmas Lights

Stratman said he had talked to Chief Deputy Scott John about having inmates of the jail put up Christmas lights around the courthouse as part of the jail’s trusty program. The commissioners agreed that they were fine with decorations closer to the ground level, but they did not want anyone to climb on the roof to decorate.